Considerations for Policy Development and Scaling-Up Household Water Treatment and Safe Storage with Communicable Disease Prevention Efforts, 2013. World Health Organization.
The overall consensus from the group was that existing meta-analyses, individual research reports, and WHO Guidelines provide sufficient support for scaling-up HWTS. Participants thought more can and should be done to integrate HWTS into HIV, child and maternal health, dengue and vector control, and other targeted efforts. The three specific conclusions were:
• Correct and consistent use of proven household water treatment technologies and safe storage results in health gains;
• Optimal selection of household water treatment and safe storage should consider several contextual and performance factors; and
• Integration of HWTS with health efforts offers “quick wins” for reducing diarrhoea and co-morbidity, providing incentives to seek health services, and makes efficient use of health resources.
During the discussion, a statement articulating important opportunities for integration of HWTS with health efforts was drafted. Following the meeting the statement was revised with input from all meeting participants for publication in a peer-reviewed journal (publication forthcoming).
The recommendations from the discussion (provided in greater detailed in the statement) include:
• Highlight linkages between HWTS and priority health programmes in WHO and national strategies;
• Link HWTS (and other public health goods) with efforts to rapidly expand HIV testing in order to reach the global HIV target of treating 15 million by 2015;
• Increase implementation of HWTS to end preventable child deaths from pneumonia and diarrhoea by 2025;
• Develop and implement preventive interventions that jointly address faecal contamination and vector breeding in household water storage containers;
• Select household water treatment technologies that meet WHO performance criteria and are most likely to be used correctly and consistently;
• Implement household water treatment in tandem with existing health interventions and channels;
• Monitor and track progress in effective implementation of HWTS alongside other health interventions (i.e. improvements in antenatal care, HIV care and counselling, etc);
• Invest in operational research on uptake of environmental health interventions;
• Establish straightforward and ambitious global HWTS targets to drive scaling-up efforts.