March 2000 What’s New

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What’s NewProjupdt2.jpg (15987 bytes)Sleeping under mosquito nets treated with insecticides, like those shown here for sale in a Tanzanian market, is the number one preventive intervention for many living in areas where malaria is common. In appropriate locations, programs promoting mosquito nets can be complemented by activities to eliminate vector breeding sites. Back issues of What’s New:February 2000 at EHPJanuary 2000 at EHP March 2000 at EHPLow-Cost Projects Improve Community Sanitation.  Dr. Laurie Krieger, the EHP Coordinator for Community-Based Environmental Sanitation and Hygiene, just returned from Benin where she met with USAID staff, community representatives, and local municipal and departmental personnel and spoke with community members to plan for the expansion of an environmental health activity in Borgou Department.GESCOME (Gestion Communautaire de Santé Environnementale) is a USAID-supported community-based project being implemented with assistance from EHP. It is active in four towns in Borgou Department. Now in its third year, GESCOME has united the community, NGOs, and local government to help communities identify their environmental health problems and address them through infrastructure microprojects, such as this community latrine.
The principal health goal of GESCOME is prevention of diarrheal disease in children under five – the cause of over 3 million deaths per year worldwide. In the rural towns of northern Benin, many children are not sent to school. Caretakers of children under five may themselves be children.
Water, sanitation, and hygiene interventions have been shown to reduce sickness from diarrhea by a quarter to a third on average. This water source protection microproject in Bembéréké separates drinking water (from taps) from water used for washing. These women are using the water designated for washing.
Other women in Bembéréké fill their containers from the taps with potable water for cooking and drinking.
Mr. Salifou Yallou, the Country Director of the EHP project (at the extreme left) stands with members of the Parakou municipal team (Equipe Municipale Elargie), neighborhood heads, and members of the Comités de Gestion de Microprojets—elected by each project neighborhood to implement and manage its microprojects.Watch this space for more information about the expanded project in Benin. (Photos courtesy John Borrazzo, USAID, and Laurie Krieger, EHP.)
Workshop to Review Progress in Decentralization of Water and Sanitation Services. Since the autumn of 1997, EHP has been assisting the newly established Bushbuckridge Water Board in South Africa to assume full responsibility for the management of water services in several communities in Northern and Mpumalanga Provinces in the former homelands. Since President Mandela took office in 1994, the government has made it a policy to transfer water supply services to local authorities. EHP assistance has increased the Water Board’s capacity to manage, operate, and maintain community water and sanitation facilities and recover costs for these services. A two-day stakeholders workshop will take place in late March to review past work, discuss lessons learned, and identify future needs for EHP assistance. EHP assistance is funded by the Urban Programs Office in USAID’s South Africa mission.EHP Technical Assistance for Malaria Prevention and Control in Eritrea to Be Expanded. Last September, EHP helped the National Malaria Control Program (NMCP) in Eritrea initiate a series of field entomology studies at 180 sites across the country. The studies will determine the distribution of Anopheles mosquitoes species and gather information on vector behavior. In January 2000, a team of five EHP staff and consultants met with NMCP officials to review progress in the entomology studies and plan an expanded set of activities for the future. Over the next two years, EHP will be working with Eritrea’s malaria program to improve epidemiologic surveillance of malaria, strengthen the program’s research and data analysis capabilities, and develop and test new approaches to vector control. These efforts are intended to contribute to a truly integrated and strategic malaria prevention and control program, in which zonal and local program agents have access to current information and can make appropriate decisions about when and where to use the various interventions available to them. It is an exciting opportunity to develop and test tools for “cross-sectoral surveillance,” a core element of the EHP program.Madagascar Program to Link Health, Population and Environmental Protection Activities. An interdisciplinary team of EHP consultants and representatives from USAID’s Office of Population, Health and Nutrition are meeting with local NGOs and USAID mission personnel in Madagascar as the first step in designing an integrated program initiative that will link population, health, and environment activities. The program will be carried out in biologically diverse ecosystems in two of Madagascar’s priority conservation zones. The concept behind linking such seemingly different activities reflects the villagers’ and NGOs’ perceptions that certain issues underlie both activities, such as food security and family planning.  At the community level it is evident that the health of families and individuals depends on a healthy community environment, supported by sustainable agricultural practices. In addition, existing population/health programs can provide an entry point for protecting the environment and vice versa. The expectation is that an integrated program will benefit from synergies among its components and bring about better and longer-lasting results.The proposed program will be coordinated by a local NGO and will have access to USAID grant funds to support specific interventions. An important part of the planning work will be to coordinate and collaborate as much as possible with other environment and health organizations active in Madagascar. Because of the global importance of Madagascar as a biodiversity reservoir, many environment groups are active there.This program will be designed to help USAID/Madagascar achieve its objectives in economic development, health, and the conservation of biodiversity habitats.

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