If you’ve been following WSUP’s research activities, you’ll know that one of our most exciting pieces of work is the evaluation of the health impacts of our sanitation programme in Maputo (Mozambique).

This major study, funded by USAID, is being led by the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM). The research is looking at a number of related questions: will this communal toilet intervention have an effect on health, and more specifically, will any effects be dependent on population density? (We would expect the positive effect on health to be stronger in areas with higher population density)

It’s a fascinating and innovative study in many respects, not least because of the wide range of health metrics being measured: not just self-reported diarrhoea incidence (the common measure, widely suspected to be unreliable), but also a bunch of other metrics including child height and weight, parasites in child stools, and biochemical markers of viral and parasite infection. Plus at the same time other researchers will be applying the Gates-supported SaniPath approach to get a measure of degree of faecal contamination of the local environment. Baseline measures have started, and data collection will be continuing in line with toilet construction and inauguration-into-use over the coming year.

It’s one of the most exciting health impact evaluations in the urban context to date, and WSUP is proud to be providing the intervention to be rigorously tested! If you want out find out more, check out this very interesting presentation recently given by the lead researchers to USAID’s Sanitation Working Group in Washington.

Published 7th April 2015