By Eve MacKinnon, PhD candidate at University College London
To mark World Toilet Day on Saturday 19 November, guest blogger Eve MacKinnon takes a look at the developing innovation in sanitation.
In 2015 Google held a technology festival in South Africa aiming to develop ways to digitify billions of people in the continent, who as yet unconnected are a significant potential new market for their products and therefore hugely valuable for future growth.
By Guest blogger Natasha Chainani
With it being International Womens Day this week, I thought it would be apt to recognise breakthrough innovations in women’s hygiene that have been doing the rounds of social media lately. Even more so, it would be apt to recognise that women’s health need not be pioneered by women alone by highlighting the efforts of a common man turned social entrepreneur and frugal innovator in rural India taking the feminine hygiene industry by storm.
In a country where sanitary products remain a luxury and accessible to those who can afford to buy pricier, international brands, women still resort to traditional methods – often unhygienic and at risk of disease.
By Dr Michael Templeton, Faculty of Engineering, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Imperial College London
With World Water Day approaching on 22 March, research at Imperial College London is highlighting yet another example of why access to clean water is so vitally important to human health.
The research is seeking to quantify the role of access to clean water in reducing the odds of becoming infected with the neglected tropical disease schistosomiasis.
It has been estimated that 200 million people in developing countries are infected with the parasite causing this disease, which manifests itself in a range of symptoms, including enlargement of the liver and spleen, anaemia, increased risk of bladder cancer, exacerbation of the transmission of HIV and its progression to AIDS, and in extreme cases seizures.
Today 36 prominent international health and development experts including representatives from WaterAid, The World Medical Association, the Institute of Global Health Innovation, Amref Health Africa, Bangladesh Medical Association, British Medical Association, Commonwealth Medical Association, Global Health Council, Indian Medical Association, International Confederation of Midwifes, Nigerian Medical Association, and the Royal College of General Practitioners amongst many others, have called for an end to a crisis that has claimed the lives of over 10 million children under the age of five since the year 2000.
In an Open letter to the Secretary-General of the United Nations, Ban Ki Moon, the signatories, representing over 620,000 health professionals globally, highlight the desperate waste of life caused by people not having access to a basic toilet.