At Stockholm World Water Week 2014, the USAID funded WASHplus Project in partnership with PPPHW, Wateraid and Plan International organized a side event entitled ‘Are you still pouring your WASH investments down the drain?” The meeting promoted the importance of hygiene in the post-2015 agenda including both handwashing with soap. The purpose was to alert practitioners and donors that investments in infrastructure will not be able to reap desired benefits if done alone without including hygiene, both handwashing with soap and menstrual hygiene management. It was argued that in addition to health and nutrition benefits associated with the hygiene practices advocated, there are other issues to be considered: economic, educational and equity.
On behalf of WASHplus, Dr. Orlando Hernandez, Monitoring and Evaluation Advisor, presented the findings of a recent analysis on the economic cost implications when handwashing is not addressed. Data for Kenya were presented showing that the Kenyan economy could save $153 million/per year given the disease aversion effects of handwashing. This amount is equivalent just over 50% of the Fiscal Year 2013 USAID investment in Kenya and about one third of the central Kenya government health budget in 2012. The analysis was performed by FHI 360 health economists using a methodology developed by Guy Hutton under the Economics of Sanitation Initiative under WSP sponsorship.
view the full presentation here.