Author(s): Thompson T, Khan S
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Abstract This paper analyses the situation in countries comprising the WHO South-East Asia Region with respect to water supply and sanitation services, hygiene and the epidemiology of related infectious diseases. Recently, published data from the WHO/UNICEF Global Water Supply and Sanitation Assessment 2000 report was reviewed to depict the situation with respect to consumers' access to improved water supply and sanitation services. It was shown that access to improved drinking water supplies is among the lowest in the world, and that sanitation coverage in this region is below all others. The paper also reviews selected surveys of hygiene behaviours in several countries of the region. Associations are suggested between access to services, hygienic practices and specific infectious diseases. The need is acknowledged to improve the evidence base on linkages between infectious diseases and water, sanitation and hygiene, and specific recommendations are made in this regard. There is a need now and for the foreseeable future to promote low-cost household-level interventions, including behaviour change strategies, that mitigate the health consequences of the current situation with respect to water supply, sanitation and hygiene. The role of health authorities in meeting this challenge, and as advocates for accelerating development of the water and sanitation sector, is highlighted.
This article was published in Int J Environ Health Res
and referenced in Journal of Environmental & Analytical Toxicology