Regional policy brief Southeast Asia No. 5
Risk assessment for food safety in Vietnam
Food-borne diseases are a major, vastly underreported health problem in most developing countries. According to WHO, they cause around 2 billion episodes of illness each year. But developing countries with many smallholders and a large informal food sector must balance protection of human health with protecting the livelihoods of food producers. Risk assessment is an innovative way of managing food safety and reducing the human health burden of food-borne diseases. This regional policy brief outlines how risk assessment can support food safety in Vietnam and similar countries.
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Regional policy brief Southeast Asia No. 4
The Vietnamese double-vault composting latrine: Fertilizer source or health risk?
Human excreta are rich in plant nutrients, so many farmers in Vietnam use them to fertilize their crops and in raising fish. But they also contain dangerous pathogens. Exposure can pose a health risk to farmers, their families, as well as consumers. Around one-fifth of households in Vietnam use a double-vault latrine that collects excreta and allows them to decompose before spreading the resulting compost on their gardens and fields. What are the benefits and risks of doing this? This issue of evidence for policy draws on research in Nghe An, Ha Nam, and Nam Dinh in northern Vietnam to answer this question.
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Regional Edition Southeast Asia No. 3
Targeting poverty in Laos: How well do current approaches reach the poor?
Funds for poverty reduction are limited, so allocating them effectively is key in development planning. A common way to do this is to plot the distribution of poor people on maps, and then to target poverty-alleviation efforts at areas with the largest incidences of poverty. But this approach may miss a large share of the poor. This regional edition of evidence for policy shows how careful analysis of more detailed spatial information – in this case in Laos – can reveal patterns that are not immediately obvious. That can lead to better, more precise targeting well beyond a purely geographic focus on poor areas, and to more differentiated and spatially integrated development planning.
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Regional Edition Southeast Asia No. 2
Safe use of wastewater in agriculture and aquaculture
Agriculture and aquaculture in Vietnam often use wastewater, particularly in urban or peri-urban areas. Wastewater provides moisture and nutrients for crops and fish, and its use generates employment for poor communities. But wastewater also poses many health risks due to the pathogens (bacteria, viruses, and parasites) and chemicals it contains. These may harm people directly through contact or when they consume contaminated products. This issue of evidence for policy explores how wastewater can be used safely and beneficially.
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Regional Edition Southeast Asia No. 1
Sustainable sanitation in urban centres in Southeast Asia
Several cities in Southeast Asia have installed centralised sewerage systems but most lack the funds to operate and maintain them properly. As a result, untreated or poorly treated wastewater finds its way into nearby water bodies. This policy brief describes the advantages of decentralised wastewater solutions, highlighting two technologies that are well suited to Southeast Asia: “anaerobic baffled reactors” and “constructed wetlands”. Linked together in a chain, these technologies are affordable, effectively remove pollutants from wastewater, and can even offer aesthetic values for communities.
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