The Impact of Poor Sanitation on Nutrition

The intersection between nutrition and WASH (water, sanitation and hygiene) continues to garner attention, however much work remains to be done. SHARE and UNICEF recently released a policy brief that summarizes the evidence the evidence for the impact of poor sanitation on nutritional outcomes and highlights the potential offered by greater integration of WASH within nutrition policy and programs. Key recommendations include:

  • The new Global Goals provide an opportunity for donors, aid agencies, and national governments to foster cross-sectoral collaboration in WASH and nutrition, including knowledge sharing and collaborative programs.
  • The nutritional significance of sanitation can no longer be overlooked. Practitioners from nutrition and WASH should collaborate on tackling the underlying causes of undernutrition and put a greater focus on prevention of undernutrition in addition to treatment.
  • Gaps in evidence on the sanitation-nutrition nexus must be filled with high quality studies in order to spur greater commitment and investment in evidence-based impactful interventions.