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Welcome Note

This edition of The Resource Spring is packed with news and resources related to WatSan, public health and the environment and I hope you will take a few minutes to read over the content and see what may be useful for you and your organizations. Updates on what’s been happening in the sector can be found in the national and international news sections.

Learning opportunities in the area of public health and climate change are available. Upcoming events for the next few months are also looking exciting. If you are planning to host any events or activities please feel free to let us know the details and we can publish them in The Resource Spring as well as on our facebook pages.  If you have any comments, suggestions or feedback on them we would also be pleased about it.

I hope you enjoy February’s edition of The Resource Spring and we look forward to hearing back from you. If you would like to include information in The Resource Spring please contact us through the details provided below.

S.M.A. Rashid
Executive Director
NGO Forum for Public Health

National News

Bacteria overgrowth could be major cause of stunting in children

Globally, 165 million children are stunted or short for their age, while in Bangladesh – where the researchers have been working – stunting affects 36 percent of children under 5. Being stunted increases the chances of both cognitive disability and death before the age of 5.

One possible factor contributing to stunting is damage to the gut – “environmental enteropathy” – leading to inflammation and poor uptake of dietary nutrients. The origins of environmental enteropathy are not clear, but excessive numbers of bacteria in the small intestine, referred to as small intestine bacterial overgrowth, or SIBO, have been suggested as one possible cause.

To explore this idea, the researchers examined 103 2-year-old children who had been followed from birth in an urban slum in Mirpur, Dhaka. Despite vaccination, medical care, nutritional counseling and care, stunting increased in these infants from 9.5 percent at birth to 27.6 percent at 1 year of age.

Notably, one in six 2-year-old children tested showed signs of SIBO, as revealed by the presence of hydrogen in their breath, a result of bacterial metabolism of sugar to hydrogen in the small intestine. Importantly, bacterial overgrowth was more common in children showing stunted growth and was associated with gut inflammation.

“We knew that the children’s intestines were being damaged and that was associated with malnutrition, so we decided to test to see if this damage could be due in part to bacteria in their small intestine,” said Dr. Jeff Donowitz, lead author on the study. Donowitz is a pediatric infectious disease specialist at Virginia Commonwealth University and an infectious disease fellow at the University of Virginia School of Medicine.

Read more

Arsenic and high drowning rates of Bangladeshi kids

A recent study in Bangladesh links exposure to arsenic-contaminated drinking water during pregnancy to poor cognitive ability that increases the chance of death by drowning in children aged 1-5 years.

The study, published October in Global Health Action, was conducted by the Bangladesh Rural Advancement Committee (BRAC), Dhaka, McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada and the International Centre for Diarrhoeal Disease Research, Bangladesh (iccdr,b), Dhaka.

Drowning accounts for 42 per cent of all deaths in Bangladeshi childrenaged 1-4 years. These deaths occur mostly in the rural areas of the deltaic country, with 75 per cent of them in natural water bodies less than 20 metres from the home.

MahfuzarRahman, lead author of the study and programme head of the research and evaluation division of BRAC, tells SciDev.Net that arsenic contamination might “impair intrauterine programming and foetal neurodevelopment which ultimately raises the risk of drowning among children.”

Rahman says: “In our five-year research it was found that 73 per cent of drowning deaths occurred among children of women who were exposed to arsenic during their pregnancy.” The study focused on the Matlab sub-district, about 55 kilometres from Dhaka, which is known to be highly arsenic-contaminated and where there is demographic surveillance datagathered by the iccdr,b.

“We analysed mortality data for children who were born to 11,414 pregnant women between 2002 and 2004, with an average age of five years of follow-up. There were 84 drowning deaths registered, with cause of death ascertained using verbal autopsy done by interviewing close relatives. 

Mohammad Yunus, co-author of the study and consultant senior scientist at icddr,b, tells SciDev.Net that it has been demonstrated in animal models that “arsenic exposure can modify monoamine content that can subsequently affect behaviour and other brain activities including movement control, learning and memory, cognition and emotion.”

Read more

Poor rural families to get 50,000 improved latrines

The government will provide about 50,000 improved latrines to rural poor households in 33 districts to help them improve their sanitation standard.

The latrines will be distributed in 383 unions of 97 upazilas under the Bangladesh Rural Water Supply and Sanitation Project (BRWSSP), being implemented by the Department of Public Health Engineering (DPHE), according to official sources.

Ahead of the distribution, the project officials have prepared a social map to identify the real beneficiaries, BRWSSP social development officer MuktadirHarun told the news agency.
He said the rural poor households could buy latrines from local latrine entrepreneurs developed under the project. The entrepreneurs will develop three types of latrines with prices ranging from Tk 6,000 to Tk 9,000. While buying latrines, the project will provide Tk 5,000 as cash incentive to every beneficiary.

“As per affordability of the households, they'll buy latrines from among the three types, paying the remaining amount,” Harun said.

The BRWSSP was taken with financial support from the World Bank to increase safe water supply and improve sanitation in rural areas. The World Bank is providing about $75 million for the project scheduled to end in 2017.

Read more

Learning Opportunities

The World Bank

Course name: Management in Health 

Description: This course will discuss, in an interactive and facilitated manner, the application of public sector management principles and experiences to health management at the subnational level in developing countries. The course is offered free of charge. The six modules cover strategic management and planning, financing, managing people, information technology, strategic communications, and managing change.

Date: 09 March - 20 April 2016
Cost: Free


Course name: Online Certificate Course in eHealth

Description: AKDN eHRC is offering a year-long online certificate course in eHealthThis course is designed to:

- Build the eHealth capacities of professionals in the health sector;
- Help them understand the concepts of eHealth and eHealth solutions; and
- Address the challenges around eHealth service delivery in the developing world.

You will learn how to manage, administer and provide implementation oversight for eHealth programmes in low- and middle-income countries.

Date: 08 March 2016

 Human Rights & Justice Group International

Course name: Online Certificate Course in Gender and Development Training

Description: This e-learning course will empower the participants with tools and sector-specific guidelines for gender mainstreaming in their various institutions and development planning. It will further improve the abilities of participants to reduce gender inequalities in their various homes, organisation and communities.

Date: 18 March-18 April 2016 
Cost: € 300

Upcoming Events

19-20 April 2016, The Global Water Summit 2016, Abu Dhabi, UAE

The Global Water Summit 2016 in Abu Dhabi is going to break new ground for the sustainability of water as a source of business and economic growth. We will bring together our distinct community: the people who lead the businesses that supply and use water and the stakeholders whose decisions influence the way those businesses are run.

Organised by: Global Water Intelligence - GWI

More information can be found on the website

21-23 April 2016, International Conference On Innovations in Sustainable Water and Wastewater Treatment Systems (ISWATS), Pune, India

This conference is an international event attracting water professionals and organizations from across the world working towards sustainable water and wastewater treatment systems. The strategic objectives of the Conference are to exchange knowledge, technologies, guidelines and tools for implementation and operation among academia and public authorities, skilled service providers and SMEs, enabling research partnerships and creating favorable environments for the application of treatment systems and technologies for sustainable water / wastewater treatment, reuse and recycle.

Organised by: India - EU Science & Technology Research Collaboration Projects

More information can be found on the website

20-21 June 2016, International Conference on Climate Change Mitigation and Technologies for Adaptation, Shillong, Meghalaya, India 

The main objective of the proposed conference is to highlight the importance of keeping continued focus on the current issues of climate change and to provide a platform to the researchers, scientists, engineers and students in all areas of physics, chemistry, computer science engineering &information technology, electrical engineering, electronics & telecommunication engineering/ electronics engineering, applied sciences & mathematics, for the dissemination of original research results, new ideas and practical developmental experiences; which concentrate on both theory, experiments and practices for creating an impetus and momentum toward searching a universal and ambitious agreement on climate change scenarios.

Organised by: University of Technology and Management, Shillong

More information can be found on the website


In this Issue ...

International News

WHO: $56 million needed to fight Zika outbreak in coming months

The World Health Organization says it will take $56 million to kickstart a coordinated international response to the Zika virus outbreak racing through much of the Americas, and the WHO plans to tap a newly created emergency contingency fund to pay for the initial efforts.

In a lengthy action plan published, the organization said a hefty chunk of the money will go toward disease surveillance, which will include tracking new Zika cases and the suspected birth defects and rare autoimmune syndrome that scientists suspect are linked to the mosquito-borne virus. More funding will be used to help provide counseling to pregnant women, as well as to help communities with mosquito-control programs. Still more funds will go toward research to speed the development of new vaccines, treatments and diagnostic tests, as well as to study whether and how Zika is causing serious conditions such as microcephaly.

More than half the money will be spread among a collection of international partners, including non-governmental organizations and research institutions such as Unicef, AmeriCares, Save the Children, the International Medical Corps and the University of Texas Medical Branch. The remaining funds will be disbursed within the WHO and its regional offices in the Americas -- known as the Pan American Health Organization -- to help carry out the plan through June. Earlier this month, the organization declared the Zika outbreak and the accompanying spike in congenital brain abnormalities in newborns to be a public health emergency of international concern.

Read more

Dispatches: UN Resolution Enshrines Rights to Clean Drinking Water, Sanitation

At least one in three people on this planet lacks access to a toilet or other facility that safely manages human waste. Nearly one in seven practices “open defecation.”

Access to improved sanitation was one of the most off-track goals of the Millennium Development Goals, a set of targets designed to lift people out of poverty that governments agreed to back in 2000, and which expire this year. This is all a polite way of saying that billions of people around the world are exposed to human feces – theirs or someone else’s – on a daily basis.

This isn’t just gross – it’s an issue of human rights. Open defecation doesn’t only spread disease, it can also expose women and girls to harassment and gender-based violence and – as women often go out later at night and walk further away – even to animal attack. It’s been linked to stunting and malnutrition in children. And, girls who can’t safely use a toilet or latrine also can’t manage their menstruation with dignity – creating an obstacle to their education for several days every month. Poor sanitation and wastewater management make access to clean drinking water more challenging to attain, as human waste contaminates water sources.

Five years ago, the United Nations General Assembly recognized that water and sanitation are a fundamental human right. In a new resolution passed today, the world body took a significant step towards addressing the challenges related to sanitation. It recognized that water and sanitation are each human rights, interrelated but independent. The General Assembly also expressed concern about the impact water and sanitation has on women and girls and the advancement of gender equality.

Read more

Disruption to women's lives caused by periods needs more research

Oxford University study calls for better evaluation of methods designed to help the millions of girls and women who avoid school and work while menstruating
Millions of girls and women avoid school and work while they are menstruating because of stigma and inadequate hygiene, yet too little research has been done to assess the effectiveness of programmes designed to address the problem, says an Oxford University study.

Programmes to support menstruating women vary wildly, with no comprehensive review of what works best or why. As a result, governments, international organisations and local charities may be investing funds and resources in programmes that could be more efficient, according to the paper published on in the journal Plos One.

“Interventions such as the provision of sanitary products or education around puberty may be simple strategies that can increase girls’ attendance at school and reduce the stigma surrounding periods,” said senior author Paul Montgomery of Oxford University’s Centre for Evidence-Based Intervention. “Such programmes may be a cost-effective way to target gender inequalities, but we need proper evidence that can measure their effectiveness.”

If women and girls cannot manage their monthly cycles with ease and comfort, there can be major consequences: poor menstruation care is a significant barrier to development and gender equality, can induce shame and anxiety in women, and results in poor attendance at school and work.

Read more

New Resources Available

The NRC library acts as a sector memory and contains a rich collection of resources with complete connectivity to a state-of-the-art Online Library Information System (OLIS). The physical library itself contains over 4,000 books, journals, articles and other related resources and is open to the public free of charge.

For a complete list of physical resources available visit our Online Library Information System or for online resources our PHED Database.

Southeast Asia and the Economics of Global Climate Stabilization - Report

Southeast Asia is likely to sustain larger economic losses from climate change than most other areas in the world. Moreover, those losses—the collective effect of impacts on agriculture, tourism, energy demand, labor productivity, catastrophic risks, health, and ecosystems—may be larger than previously estimated. When these loss estimates are considered simultaneously in the modeling, gross domestic product (GDP) is found to be reduced by 11% in 2100 under the business as usual emissions scenario of this study, which is 60% higher than the earlier ADB assessment.

Climate change is a global concern of special relevance to Southeast Asia, a region that is both vulnerable to the effects of climate change and a rapidly increasing emitter of greenhouse gases. From 1990 to 2010, carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions in Southeast Asia have grown more rapidly than in any other region of the world.

Published by: ADB

The report can be accessed through the link

Achieving the Malaria MDG Target: Reversing the Incidence of Malaria 2000–2015

In this joint publication, UNICEF and the World Health Organization report that between 2000 and 2015, malaria mortality rates among children under age 5 fell by 65 per cent, saving an estimated 5.9 million lives. The report highlights the remarkable global and regional progress made against malaria, and the main challenges that remain in controlling and eliminating this disease, which still poses a threat to about 3.2 billion people – almost half of the world’s population.

Published by: Unicef

The report can be accessed through the link

Water, Sanitation, Hygiene, and Nutrition in Bangladesh : Can Building Toilets Affect Children's Growth?

This report provides a systematic review of the evidence to date, both published and grey literature, on the relationship between water and sanitation and nutrition. We also survey the potential impact of improved water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) on undernutrition. This is the first report that undertakes a thorough review and discussion of WASH and nutrition in Bangladesh. The report is meant to serve two purposes. First, it synthesizes the results/evidence evolving on the pathway of WASH and undernutrition for use by practitioners working in the nutrition and water and sanitation sectors to stimulate technical discussions and effective collaboration among stakeholders. Second, this report serves as an advocacy tool, primarily for policy makers, to assist them in formulating a multisectoral approach to tackling the undernutrition problem.

Published by: The World Bank

The book can be accessed through the link

Knowledge Corner

Taxonomies for Development

Organizations spend millions of dollars on management systems without commensurate investments in the categorization needed to organize the information they rest on. Taxonomy work is strategic work: it enables efficient and interoperable retrieval and sharing of data, information, and knowledge by building needs and natural workflows in intuitive structures.

More information can be found on the website

Informal Authority in the Workplace

In most types of organizations, formal authority is located at the top as part of an exchange against fairly explicit expectations. In networked, pluralistic organizations that must rapidly formulate adaptive solutions in an increasingly complex world, its power is eroding as its functions become less clear. In the 21st century, the requirements of organizational speed demand investments in informal authority.

More information can be found on the website

Crafting a Knowledge Management Results Framework

Managing for results requires a coherent framework for strategic planning, management, and communications based on continuous learning and accountability. Results frameworks improve management effectiveness by defining realistic expected results, monitoring progress toward their achievement, integrating lessons into decisions, and reporting on performance.

More information can be found on the website

Useful Links

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email: nrc@ngof.org

postal address: NGO Forum for Public Health, 4/6, Block-E, Lalmatia, Dhaka-1207, Bangladesh

website: National Resource Centre

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