In January and February 2018, the first of the water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) Benefits trials findings were published in The Lancet Global Health, from Bangladesh and Kenya. The trials aim to add to the evidence base on the impact of WASH and nutrition interventions — either separately or combined — on child health and development in the first two years of life.
A key finding in both countries was that there appears to be no benefit from integrating WASH with nutrition interventions on linear growth and stunting, which seems to go against an otherwise growing body of evidence that suggests a strong link between poor WASH and stunting.
This WaterAid brief aims to help staff and other actors working on nutrition and WASH to understand the results and implications of these studies, and to interpret the results in light of the full body of evidence on WASH and nutrition. For example, when reading these results, we need to consider that the health benefits of sanitation do not come solely from personal use of improved sanitation facilities, but from improved community coverage and a decrease in open defecation more broadly.
WaterAid also published a blog with its reflections on the findings of the trials.