Improving nutrition outcomes with better water, sanitation and hygiene:practical solutions
Undernutrition is both a cause and a consequence of poverty and is a major contributor to maternal and child mortality in the shorter term as well as noncommunicable diseases (NCD) in the longer term. It negatively affects all aspects of an individual’s health and development and impedes economic and social progress at the community and national levels. Proven, simple interventions exist to combat undernutrition, such as exclusive breastfeeding, appropriate complementary feeding practices, micronutrient supplementation where needed, handwashing with soap, and use of hygienic latrines or toilets.
However, given the complexity of factors that cause undernutrition, especially lack of access to water and sanitation and poor hygiene, no single intervention alone will achieve effective or lasting results. Effectively and sustainably improving nutrition outcomes requires a coordinated, multisectoral approach among the health, water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) and agricultural sectors and strong community engagement.