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Environ Monit Assess ; 192(2): 134, 2020 Jan 22.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-31970501


Healthcare-acquired infections (HAIs) contribute to maternal and neonatal morbidity and mortality, especially in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). Deficient environmental health (EH) conditions and infection prevention and control (IPC) practices in healthcare facilities (HCFs) contribute to the spread of HAIs, but microbial sampling of sources of contamination is rarely conducted nor reported in low-resource settings. The purpose of this study was to assess EH conditions and IPC practices in Malawian HCFs and evaluate how EH deficiencies contribute to pathogen exposures and HAIs, and to provide recommendations to inform improvements in EH conditions using a mixed-methods approach. Thirty-one maternity wards in government-run HCFs were surveyed in the three regions of Malawi. Questionnaires were administered in parallel with structured observations of EH conditions and IPC practices and microbial testing of water sources and facility surfaces. Results indicated significant associations between IPC practices and microbial contamination. Facilities where separate wards were not available for mothers and newborns with infections and where linens were not used for patients during healthcare services were more likely to have delivery tables with surface contamination (relative risk = 2.23; 1.49, 3.34). E. coli was detected in water samples from seven (23%) HCFs. Our results suggest that Malawian maternity wards could reduce microbial contamination, and potentially reduce the occurrence of HAIs, by improving EH conditions and IPC practices. HCF staff can use the simple, low-cost EH monitoring methods used in this study to incorporate microbial monitoring of EH conditions and IPC practices in HCFs in low-resource settings.

Sci Total Environ ; 714: 136553, 2020 Jan 13.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-31982735


There are 70.8 million forcibly displaced people worldwide, including internally displaced persons, refugees, and asylum seekers. Since mortality rates are highest in the first six months of displacement, the provision of adequate services and infrastructure by relief organizations is critical in this "emergency phase." Environmental health provisions such as adequate water supply, excreta management, solid waste management, and vector control measures are among those essential services. We conducted a systematic scoping review of environmental health in the emergency phase of displacement (the six months following first displacement). A total of 122 publications, comprising 104 peer-reviewed and 18 grey literature publications, met the inclusion criteria. We extracted data relating to environmental health conditions and services, associated outcomes, and information concerning obstacles and recommendations for improving these conditions and services. Despite the fact that most displaced people live outside of camps, publications largely report findings for camps (n = 73, 60%). Water supply (n = 57, 47%) and excreta management (n = 47, 39%) dominate the literature. Energy access (n = 7, 6%), exposure to harsh weather from inadequate shelter (n = 5, 4%), food hygiene and safety (n = 4, 3%), indoor air quality (n = 3, 3%), menstrual hygiene management (n = 2, 2%), dental hygiene (n = 2, 2%), and ambient air quality (n = 1, 1%) are relatively understudied. The most common health outcome attributed to inadequate environmental conditions in the included publications is diarrhea (n = 43, 35%). We found that organizations and governments often embrace their own standards, however we call for policymakers to adopt standards no less rigorous than Sphere for the emergency phase of displacement. Although other reviews examine water, sanitation, and hygiene interventions in emergencies, this is the first systematic review of environmental health more broadly in the first six months of displacement.

Health Policy Plan ; 2019 Nov 13.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-31722372


Many healthcare facilities (HCFs) in low-income countries experience unreliable connectivity to energy sources, which adversely impacts the quality of health service delivery and provision of adequate environmental health services. This assessment explores the status and consequences of energy access through interviews and surveys with administrators and healthcare workers from 44 HCFs (central hospitals, district hospitals, health centres and health posts) in Malawi. Most HCFs are connected to the electrical grid but experience weekly power interruptions averaging 10 h; less than one-third of facilities have a functional back-up source. Inadequate energy availability is associated with irregular water supply and poor medical equipment sterilization; it adversely affects provider safety and contributes to poor lighting and working conditions. Some challenges, such as poor availability and maintenance of back-up energy sources, disproportionately affect smaller HCFs. Policymakers, health system actors and third-party organizations seeking to improve energy access and quality of care in Malawi and similar settings should address these challenges in a way that prioritizes the specific needs of different facility types.

Sci Total Environ ; 670: 717-731, 2019 Jun 20.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-30909048


Achieving sufficient, safe, continuously-available drinking water services in rural areas is a challenge, in high- and especially low-and middle-income countries. External support programs (ESPs) - which may include administrative, financial, and technical assistance - have been hypothesized to contribute to sustainable rural water services. While there are many descriptions of ESPs, a standard terminology and typology of ESP activities does not exist and the effect of ESP activities on system sustainability remains inadequately characterized. We conducted a systematic review of ESPs for rural drinking water systems to identify ESP terminology and describe ESP activities. Findings from 218 publications from low-, middle-, and high-income countries were analyzed. ESP terms were used inconsistently between regions and income classifications. There were few studies describing ESP activities related to mechanized piped water systems. Few studies quantitatively assess the effect of ESPs. Those that did found positive associations with functionality, household satisfaction, household participation, and financial stability. This review is the first comprehensive evaluation of the ESP literature and we derive a definition of external support programs and typology of ESP activities from the descriptions of ESPs. A common understanding of ESPs facilitates discussion and knowledge transfer between stakeholders. Consistent terminology creates a foundation for adapting ESPs to water services in community institutions and for mechanized piped water systems.

Sci Total Environ ; 628-629: 715-721, 2018 Jul 01.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-29454211


The sustainability of rural, community-managed water systems in sub-Saharan Africa depends in part on the ability of local water committees to repair breakdowns and carry out the operation and maintenance (O&M) of the system. Much of sub-Saharan Africa has two distinct seasons that affect the availability of water sources and how people use water. Little is known about how seasonality affects water system management. This qualitative study is based on 320 interviews and focus group discussions and examines the effects of season on community water use and management in Ghana, Kenya and Zambia. Participants revealed that seasonality affects water availability, water system breakdowns, resource mobilization, committee activity, and external support availability. In the rainy season, participants typically reported spending less time and money on water collection because rainwater harvesting and seasonal streams, ponds, wells and reservoirs are available. In the dry season, people used improved groundwater sources more often and spent more money and time collecting water. Although seasonal changes in household water demand and use have been examined previously, our data suggest that seasonality also influences community management through differential water system use, system breakdowns and management characteristics. We found that water committees generally have less money, time and access to external support during the rainy season, making them less able to carry out O&M. Our results suggest that community engagement should take place over a long period of time so that seasonal patterns in management can be understood and incorporated into water committee training. External support actors should make a more targeted effort to understand the cultural and economic patterns in a community in order to train committees with appropriate management strategies.

Conservação dos Recursos Hídricos/estatística & dados numéricos , Abastecimento de Água/estatística & dados numéricos , Gana , Humanos , Quênia , População Rural , Estações do Ano , Água , Abastecimento de Água/métodos , Zâmbia
Int J Hyg Environ Health ; 220(3): 531-538, 2017 05.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-28292643


BACKGROUND: Sufficient, safe, continuously available drinking water is important for human health and development, yet one in three handpumps in sub-Saharan Africa are non-functional at any given time. Community management, coupled with access to external technical expertise and spare parts, is a widely promoted model for rural water supply management. However, there is limited evidence describing how community management can address common hardware and management failures of rural water systems in sub-Saharan Africa. METHODS: We identified hardware and management rehabilitation pathways using qualitative data from 267 interviews and 57 focus group discussions in Ghana, Kenya, and Zambia. Study participants were water committee members, community members, and local leaders in 18 communities (six in each study country) with water systems managed by a water committee and supported by World Vision (WV), an international non-governmental organization (NGO). Government, WV or private sector employees engaged in supporting the water systems were also interviewed. Inductive analysis was used to allow for pathways to emerge from the data, based on the perspectives and experiences of study participants. RESULTS: Four hardware rehabilitation pathways were identified, based on the types of support used in rehabilitation. Types of support were differentiated as community or external. External support includes financial and/or technical support from government or WV employees. Community actor understanding of who to contact when a hardware breakdown occurs and easy access to technical experts were consistent reasons for rapid rehabilitation for all hardware rehabilitation pathways. Three management rehabilitation pathways were identified. All require the involvement of community leaders and were best carried out when the action was participatory. CONCLUSIONS: The rehabilitation pathways show how available resources can be leveraged to restore hardware breakdowns and management failures for rural water systems in sub-Saharan Africa. Governments, NGOs, and private sector actors can better build capacity of community actors by focusing on their role in rehabilitating hardware and management and to ensure that they are able to quickly contact external support actors when needed for rehabilitation. Using qualitative and participatory methods allows for insight into rapid rehabilitation of hardware and management.

Falha de Equipamento , Purificação da Água/instrumentação , Participação da Comunidade , Gana , Humanos , Quênia , Governo Local , Organizações , Zâmbia