The three main underlying causes of undernutrition are unsuitable or insufficient food intake, poor care practices and disease – these are directly or indirectly related to inadequate access to water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH). In addition, we know that all stakeholders must engage in a multisectoral dialogue and explore multifaceted approaches to global issues in order to reach all 17 of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.
Fortunately, there is a growing base of evidence that indicates that the WASH environment can be critical in shaping children’s nutritional outcomes and complementary resources which provide guidance on how this integration can happen, practically.
A quarter of all stunting is attributed to five or more episodes of diarrhoea during the first two years of life*.
WASH programmes are often implemented on a large scale and therefore, can serve as a key delivery platform for enhancing the coverage and effectiveness of nutrition interventions. Collaboration between the two sectors will ensure WASH programmes are designed to include the necessary nutrition-sensitive characteristics to effectively contribute to achieving better nutrition outcomes.
According to WHO, 50% of undernutrition is associated with infections caused by poor water, sanitation or hygiene*.