FSM5 & AfricaSan5 Conference: Public Health Data in Sanitation Planning Workshop
Workshop convened by: Emory University Center for Global Safe WASH, Lusaka City Council, Kampala Capital City Authority, Makerere University School of Public Health, icddr,b, TREND Ghana, Kumasi Metropolitan Assembly, World Bank
Recent trends in urbanization and changing population dynamics have led to a dramatic rise in populations living in urban areas throughout Africa and Asia. These urbanizing populations settle in areas in which water, sanitation and hygiene systems are already overburdened, and many live in unplanned or illegal urban or peri-urban settlements. Rapid urbanization has outpaced sanitation services and fecal sludge management (FSM) in many cities in South Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa leading to gaps in FSM along the sanitation value chain. Shit Flow Diagrams have highlighted the points where unsafely-managed fecal waste enters the environment, but equally important is understanding where this waste ends up and the public health risks associated with its unsafe management. Sanitation decision-makers currently have a number of tools at their disposal to increase the availability and accessibility of data to support evidence-based decision-making. However, there are few opportunities to share the results of these tools and how they have been, and can be, used to influence sanitation investment, policies, and decision -making practices. This workshop allowed participants to learn about the approaches, successes, and challenges of organizations who aimed to utilize public health data in urban sanitation decision-making and to engage with fellow participants on ways to improve evidence-based decision-making in the sanitation sector. The convening organizations have all utilized the SaniPath Exposure Assessment Tool to understand exposure to fecal contamination in urban and peri-urban areas and shared their experience using this tool in the framework of factors that influence decision-making.