Baby WASH

Attracted to food in the household, small livestock bring fecal contamination into the play areas of infants and toddlers.

There is scarce research and programmatic evidence on the effect of poor water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) conditions of the physical environment on early child cognitive, sensorimotor, and socio-emotional development. Furthermore, many common WASH interventions are not specifically designed to protect babies in the first 3 years of life, when gut health and linear growth are established. Our current research, known as “Baby WASH,” works to link WASH, anemia, and child growth. Our research also seeks to highlight pathways through which WASH may affect early child development, primarily through inflammation, stunting, and anemia.

Environmental enteropathy, damage to the intestines caused by chronic exposure to bacterial pathogens, may be a key pathway between poor hygiene and developmental deficits. Current early child development research and programs lack evidence-based interventions to provide a clean play and infant feeding environment in addition to established priorities of nutrition, stimulation, and child protection. Solutions to this problem will require appropriate behavior change and technologies that are adapted to the social and physical context and conducive to infant play and socialization.

Projects

One Health for Babies & Livestock: Preventing Fecal Exposure and Environmental Enteropathy in rural Zambia (completed)

Small Scale Egg ProductionAssessing the effect of sustainable small-scale egg production on maternal and child nutrition in rural Zambia (completed)

The SHINE Trial: Sanitation, Hygiene and Infant Nutrition Efficacy (SHINE) Trial in rural Zimbabwe (current)

People

Rebecca Stoltzfus, Dadirai Fundira, Sarah Dumas, Rukundo Kambarami Benedict

Resources

Reid B, J Orgle, K Roy, C Pongolani, M Chileshe, & R Stoltzfus. 2018. Characterizing Potential Risks of Fecal–Oral Microbial Transmission for Infants and Young Children in Rural Zambia. Am J Trop Med Hyg. 98 (3), pp 816-823.

CARE Zambia and Cornell University. August 2015. One Health Report.