WASH and Neglected Tropical Diseases

More than 1 billion people worldwide suffer from one or more painful, debilitating tropical diseases that disproportionately impact poor and rural populations, cause severe sickness and disability, compromise mental and physical development, contribute to childhood malnutrition, reduce school enrollment, and hinder economic productivity. Five of these neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) can be controlled and/or eliminated with four to six years of mass drug administration (MDA). Although MDAs are key to reducing the spread of disease quickly and cost effectively, consistent reinfection occurs if behaviors and the environment remain unchanged. Schistosomiasis, soil transmitted helminths, and trachoma are all clearly linked to inadequate sanitation, contaminated food and water, and poor hygiene, which provide an opportunity for WASH-related approaches to help change behaviors and the environment.

The global NTD community has begun working together to address galvanize support for improved water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) efforts to reach the control/elimination goals for NTDs in the coming 5-10 years. Two meetings were scheduled consecutively in September 2014 to discuss WASH and NTDs. The first was a roundtable in London organized by the SHARE consortium to review progress and advance activities in monitoring and evaluation and research. The second meeting was the annual meeting of the NTD-NGDO Network (NNN). The NNN meeting consists of several thematic meetings on the different diseases and working groups that culminates in two days of plenaries to report on the results of the thematic meetings.

WASHplus staff participated in the European Roundtable on WASH and NTDs and in the NNN meeting to discuss how to contribute to documents and materials being developed on WASH and NTDs. WASHplus has also started implementation of
its first WASH and Neglected Tropical Disease (NTD) activity in Burkina Faso, adding a facet of WASH integration to its
portfolio.

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