Monday, March 24, 2008

Global Health Council - The Link Between Clean Water and Health - event

Join me and others on Capitol Hill this Wednesday:

The Link Between Clean Water and Health
Wednesday, March 26, 2008
12:30-2 pm
Rayburn House Office Building Room B338
Washington, D.C.

Most importantly: Lunch will be served

Congressional Briefing

More than 1 billion people live without access to safe water and 2.6 billion people do not have access to basic sanitation. Please join the Global Health Council in commemorating World Water Day at a briefing focusing on the importance of clean water as a health intervention. Diarrheal diseases - in large part caused by unclean water - result in the deaths of 1.8 million people annually and contribute to the deaths of many more. In addition, the burden of collecting clean water more often than not lies with women, increasing their vulnerability to neglected diseases and violence.


Greg Allgood, Director, Children's Safe Drinking Water, Procter & Gamble
Eric Mintz, Leader of the Diarrheal Diseases Epidemiology Team, Centers for Disease Control
Joan Timoney, Director of Advocacy and External Relations, Women's Commission for Refugee Women and Children
John Oldfield, Director of Partnership Development, Water Advocates

Moderator: Maurice Middleberg, Vice President of Public Policy, Global Health Council

If you want to attend, click here to RSVP.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Happy World Water Day! And Washington DC fundraising opportunity

First of all, Happy World Water Day for 2008! Let me know in the comments what you all did to celebrate. (I was at the DC Environmental Film Festival's Water Day at Carnegie.)

For those of you in DC, please consider attending Living Water International's April 8 fundraiser:

DC Gala 2008

More than 300 people attended Living Water International's inaugural Washington, D.C. gala in March of 2007, and the 2008 gala promises to draw even more. The event will provide an opportunity for attendees to hear the story of the thirsty--the 1.1 billion people in our world who live (or are dying) without clean water.

Do you want to help spread the word about the global water crisis and the work of LWI? You can get involved by volunteering, or by sponsoring a table so you can invite friends, family, and colleagues to join you for the evening. E-mail for further information. Click here to download a table sponsorship form.

Gala Chairman: Julien Patterson

Guest Speaker: Todd Phillips, Founder, The Last Well Movement

Honorary Co-Chairs
The Honorable Tommy Thompson
The Honorable and Mrs. Steve Largent
The Honorable and Mrs. Jim Slattery
The Honorable and Mrs. Tony Hall
The Honorable and Mrs. Don Bonker
The Honorable Marsha Blackburn

Host Committee
Jason Slattery, Chairman
Andrew Briggs, Co-Chairman
Andress Boggs
Spencer Brand
Chris & Callie Call
Julie Christou
Dick & Anne Dingman
Mike Donohue
The Honorable Becky Norton Dunlop
Lucas Edwards
Marly Garcia
John & Vicki Gingrich
Samuel E. Hancock
Bud & Jill Harper
Chuck & Aino Leedom
Frank and Wanda Lewark
Rodney J. MacAlister
The Honorable John B. Mumford
Andy Musser
Paul O'Brien
Jordan Olivero
Erin Pfneisel
Robert Strain
Ollie Thomas
Dan & Lynda Thompson
Mark Winter

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Water, Sanitation, Hygiene and HIV/AIDS

Thought I'd do a little research on the nexus of safe drinking water, sanitation, hygiene and HIV/AIDS tonight. I found a very interesting presentation given recently by USAID staffperson Merri Weinger at AfricaSan 2008 in Durban:
(PDF document)

It's a quick, introductory read. I'm not sure if you all will find anything new there but for me it does a good job of laying out the linkages between water, sanitation, hygiene and HIV/AIDS, and of quantifying the positive impact of WASH on HIV+ patients and to a certain extent the larger communities.

Note that Pepfar funds can be used for drinking water and hygiene improvements. Sanitation improvements (latrines) need outside sources of funding.

Page 14 discusses 'small doable actions' that need to be scaled up, out and over.

Then I thought of the ongoing debate (as seen in the recent LA Times article "Unintended victims of Gates Foundation generosity") between vertical (viz. disease-specific) and horizontal (viz. basic public health care) approaches to global public health challenges. The facts are, plenty of financial and political capital is flowing to one individual disease: HIV/AIDS. In my mind, it is premature to determine whether that is a good or bad idea (and there are others: malaria, TB). But how can the global watsan community work within the current situation of HIV getting a lot of attention and water getting relatively less?

Every water development organization (UNICEF, CARE, WaterPartners, WaterAid, Water For People, Living Water, and myriad others) that is working in a community where there are HIV positive people should approach Pepfar and ask for support for drinking water and hygiene promotion. Those water development organizations could make that more attractive to Pepfar by agreeing to provide sanitation facilities from their own funds. Essentially the water community should do a better job of grabbing onto the coattails of the HIV/AIDS juggernaut and get a bigger piece of the pie. The end game? - Every HIV clinic, and perhaps the surrounding families and communities could not only have ARVs and medical professionals trained in treating HIV, but also safe drinking water, sanitation and hygiene, and therefore significantly less diarrheal morbidity and mortality.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

TED Conference - Dave Eggers - idea

This came out of the conference this week:

Dave Eggers - author of A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius - was one of three winners of the TED prize, and wished for:
"I wish that you - you personally and every creative individual and organization you know - will find a way to directly engage with a public school in your area and that you'll then tell the story of how you got involved, so that within a year we have 1,000 examples of transformative change."
Little is more transformative than seeing that a school in the developing world gets safe drinking water, single gender sanitation and hygiene education. Kids have the opportunity to go to school, they - especially girls - have the change to stay in school, they suffer fewer cases of diarrheal and other waterborne diseases, they continue their educations past secondary school, they wait longer to start families, they have more economic opportunities, and so on.

Patty Hall is a schoolteacher from Minnesota who has recently launched H2O For Life: School to School.
"H2O for Life is the “sleeping giant” that lies within the potential of students and teachers in schools to raise funds to support people in need."
Check out their projects - Kenya, Mozambique, Mali, Nicaragua... transformative change indeed. Give Dave Eggers a call.