Wednesday, 16 February 2011

Kenya Combines WASH and Health Solutions to Defeat Diarrhea

Eileen Quinn is director of the diarrheal disease advocacy team at PATH, a member of End Water Poverty. Here she tells of an exciting new project that aims to capture the best case studies of public health integration that stops people dying needlessly of diarrheal diseases.

About a year ago in Kenya the Ministry of Health unveiled a new national strategy to combat diarrheal disease. The new national policy takes a comprehensive approach, encompassing treatmentsuch as like oral rehydration treatment and zincwith preventionexclusive breastfeeding, vitamin A supplementation, proper hygiene techniques like hand washing with soap, and access to improved water supplies.

Some of our colleagues at PATH worked with the Ministry on updating and strengthening its policy and on a community-based project in Western Kenya that piloted the integrated approach. While we are still gathering data on the results, we are heartened that hospital wards that were once overcrowded now see far fewer children for severe diarrhea.

The progress is Kenya is exciting, but just one example of new integrated approaches to improving lives and health outcomes. We would love to hear from you about other projects and programs that are offering more holistic services and great impact for low-income communities.

PATH is pleased to working with Action for Global Health, End Water Poverty, Tearfund, and WaterAid and others to produce a report to highlight opportunities to policy makers on taking a more joined-up approach to planning and implementing health, WASH, and nutrition strategies. We are looking to showcase examples of integrated programs in several countries and tell a positive story about how integration and effective programming is moving forward.

And we hope you can help. Please send us examples of health, WASH, or nutrition projects from the public sector that integrate across those issues or with other areas. We are seeking examples of projects from urban or rural areas or those that focus on girls/women, and we would also welcome additional ideas about areas where integration between sectors has proved to be successful. While we are prioritizing public sector programs, we are interested to include examples from civil society projects as well. Follow this link to participate.

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