WASH in the context of maternal health and menstrual hygiene

What are the specific needs of users, especially women, with regard to water, sanitation and hygiene service provisions in public health facilities in India and Uganda?

Summary

A 2015 UNICEF and WHO report found that, in low- and middle-income countries, 38% of health care facilities lack access even to rudimentary levels of water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH). Goal 6 of the SDGs talks about ensuring access to water and sanitation for all. However, as we can see, we are far from reaching this goal. Gender concerns are rarely addressed, as societal barriers often restrict women’s involvement in decisions and topics concerning menstrual hygiene are considered taboos.

This 2014 research project analysed the following six dimensions in relation to WASH service provisions in health care facilities in Uganda and India: hygiene and health, security and safety, privacy, accessibility, comfort, and menstrual hygiene management. Combining social anthropology, development studies and gender studies with sanitary engineering, the project aims to provide solid information about users’ needs.

For this goal, the team defined six user groups in health care facilities: outpatients, inpatients, attendants (defined as visitors who take care of patients), medical staff, cleaning personnel, and managers and administrators. Through special focus groups taking into account gender (GALS) and semi-structured interviews, they tried to identify the most important issues. These user perceptions were then verified through infrastructure spot-checks. A mobile tool for the technical assessment of infrastructure was developed, which was then tested in health care facilities in Nepal.

Keywords

  • Genderised sanitation
  • WASH
  • Gender studies

Disciplines

  • Anthropology
  • Development
  • Engineering
  • Ethnology
  • Technology

Collaborations

International Organisations:

  • UN-HCHR
  • UNCSW;

Non Governmental Organisations:

  • SIAPP, India
  • SSWARS, Uganda

Relevant Countries

India, Uganda

Contact the project team

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Research team

Christoph Lüthi
Coordinator
Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology – Eawag

Max Maurer
Co-Coordinator
Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule Zürich

Sabine Strasser
Co-Coordinator
University of Berne

Petra Kohler
Principal Member
Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology – Eawag

Charles Niwagaba
Principal Member
Makerere University

Samuel Renggli
Principal Member
Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology – Eawag

Ramesh Sakthivel
Principal Member
Tata Institute of Social Sciences

Sai Thakur
Principal Member
Tata Institute of Social Sciences

Michèle Amacker
Associated Member
University of Berne

Gloria Ankunda
Associated Member
Sustainable Sanitation and Water Renewal System

Victoria Atukunda
Associated Member
Sustainable Sanitation and Water Renewal System

Niladri Sekhar Dhar
Associated Member
Tata Institute of Social Sciences

Andrea Graf
Associated Member
University of Berne

Francis Ndyabawe
Associated Member
Sustainable Sanitation and Water Renewal System