Regional Edition West Africa No. 5
Transforming sanitation problems into opportunities
Thanks to their low installation and operating costs, planted drying beds – similar to vertical flow constructed wetlands – are a promising alternative for sewage treatment in developing countries. This French-language policy brief highlights the advantages of using the plant Echinochloa pyramidalis to treat faecal sludge in such beds. Besides treating human excreta through decomposition and drying, the resulting plant biomass may be sold as fodder for animals while the sludge may be co-composted or disposed of by land application. In this way, the system also contributes to food security and the local economy.
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Regional Edition West Africa No. 4
Coping with teenage pregnancy and childbirth in Ghana
Adolescence is when many young people first experiment with sex, but lack the knowledge and resources they need to avoid unwanted pregnancy. Pregnancy can be risky for adolescent girls: it can cause health problems and even death for both the mother and child. Pregnant girls may drop out of school, be rejected by their families, or be spurned by society. But this issue of evidence for policy reveals the resilience of adolescent girls: their ability to avoid unwanted pregnancy, or to deal with the situation and with motherhood if they do become pregnant.
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Regional Edition West Africa No. 3
Improving mobile populations’ access to social services in the Sahel
The health problems faced by mobile populations in the Sahel are complex, and solving them requires more than just emergency responses. To design suitable interventions, more must be known about underlying causes and how they interrelate: What prevents mobile populations from receiving basic social services like healthcare? What restricts their access to resources like pastures and water? This policy brief argues that interventions should be multi-sectoral – integrating socio-sanitary, nutritional, and educational aspects – and, above all, they must strengthen the institutions that provide social services.
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Regional Edition West Africa No. 2
Productive treatment of faecal sludge: from waste to fodder and profits
In developing countries, lack of low-cost treatment technologies often results in faecal sludge from domestic on-site sanitation systems (e.g. latrines) being dumped untreated onto land or into water. This threatens public health and harms the environment. As this brief shows, sludge drying beds planted with emergent macrophytes – plants that grow in shallow water but have their stems and leaves above the water surface – could be an innovative solution. Besides effectively treating sludge, these drying beds produce plants that can be sold as feed for livestock and biosolids that can be used as fertiliser in agriculture.
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Regional Edition West Africa No. 1
Including nutrition helps tuberculosis patients stick to treatment
The prevalence of TB in Mauritania is twice that of the rest of the world. TB affects the most active population segment – those ages 15 to 54 – and thus has devastating consequences for human productivity. Even if treatment costs are covered, many TB patients quit treatment regimens due to high indirect costs, such as those related to travel to health centres or new nutritional requirements. They are often poorly informed about the risks of quitting treatment, such as development of drug resistance. This French-language policy brief indicates that patients are more likely to stick to treatment when they are well informed and nutrition is integrated in their regimen.
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