By Genevieve Kelly, Malaria & Child Survival, PSI
Sometimes, 1 + 1 = 3. When every child has access to clean water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH), and proper nutrition, the effects are multiplied. A recent study provides evidence of the link between the presence of WASH interventions and increased height in children.
In August, the Cochrane Review released a comprehensive report that reviewed 14 separate studies of children aged 5 years and younger living in middle and low-income countries. Data collected on over 30,000 children found that children with access to clean water and soap were, on average, 0.5cm taller than their peers without. The findings are preliminary, but promising.
The review is the first of its kind to look beyond the impact of WASH on diarrheal incidence and to assess the longer-term effects of inadequate water, sanitation and hygiene on child nutrition and growth.