10.2 What is WASH?

Water, Sanitation and Hygiene, also called WASH, comprises several interrelated public health concerns such as access to safe water, adequate sanitation, and proper hygiene education. Carefully structured WASH programs can help increase life-expectancy and economic productivity.

10.2.1 Tackling Open Defecation

Open defecation is a huge environmental health issue in developing countries such as Zambia. Defecating in the open, where flies can fly freely between food and feces, increases the risk of diarrhoeal diseases.

In an effort to eliminate open defecation, Akros has supported the Government of Zambia, UNICEF and other development partners to extend a DHIS2-based WASH data collection platform to more than 20,000 villages. This system enables government officials and local chiefs to monitor progress towards the elimination of open defecation in their wards and chiefdoms in real-time. Village-level WASH data has given local chiefs and government officials the ability to follow-up with specific villages that lag behind in the uptake of latrine construction and use—which, for the first time, has led to multiple open defecation free (ODF) districts in Zambia.