Why do we feel capacity building is important?
The staff of the Environmental Health Group consider ourselves fortunate to be able to pursue rewarding and challenging careers in public health. However, most of the time these opportunities only arise as a result of the cooperation of governments and populations in low and middle income nations. In the long term we believe that research in these setting should be conducted by people from these countries.
Since the majority of world’s water, sanitation and hygiene challenges are in these lower income settings it is critical that public health practitioners in these regions are able to support interventions and programs with quality research.
Our work in capacity building aims to develop a sustainable network of professionals in low and middle income settings who are committed to pursuing high quality research into environmental health, water, sanitation and hygiene.
More than that public health practioners need to get in the habit of doing good research and there remains
What are we currently doing in this area?
The African SNOWS Consortium (Scientists Networked for Outcomes from Water and Sanitation), with the help of the Wellcome Trust, aims to build African capacity for interdisciplinary research in water supply, sanitation and environmental health, bringing together universities from across the continent, with research active universities in the North.
Participating institutions include:
- Egerton University in Kenya
- Kwame Nkrumah University of Science & Technology in Ghana
- London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine in the UK
- Mbarara University of Science and Technology in Uganda
- Tshwane University of Technology in South Africa
- University of Copenhagen, in Denmark
- University of East Anglia in the UK
- University of Gezira, in Sudan
- University of Venda, in South Africa
The SNOWS Consortium has run numerous training workshops in collaboration with these institutions. These have focused on topics such as proposal development and research administration. LSHTM has also been involved in the supervision of several PhD students at these Universities.
SHARE Funded Capacity Building
SHARE is currently funding six PhD students to complete research in affiliation with the Environmental Health Group at the School. These students include:
Prince Antwi-Agyei is looking into the disease risks associated with wastewater use in Ghana. In particular he aims to quantify and compare the health risks associated with wastewater use in occupational settings to those the ‘normally’ occur in the public and domestic domains.
Richard Chunga who is investigating key factors affecting the adoption of urine diverting toilets (UDTs) in peri-urban areas in Blantyre and Lilongwe City in Malawi.
Om Prasad Gautam who designed a behavioral intervention to improve food hygiene behaviour and reduce food contamination and the diarrhoeal diseases burden in the Kathmandu Valley in Nepal.
Frank Mng’ong’o who is looking into the impact and acceptability of using Moringa oleifera seeds and handwashing with soap to improve household drinking water and diarrhoea incidence in Poor Rural Tanzania.
Tarique Md. Nurul Huda is conducting an observational study in Bangladesh into the role of sanitation in preventing the contamination of the domestic environment and protecting health.
Parimita Routray will be exploring the various roles played by women and men in sanitation interventions, specifically looking at the gender specific gaps that constrain acceptance and sustainability of the sanitation efforts carried out under Indian Government’s Total Sanitation Campaign (TSC).
Sheillah Simiyu’s research aims to understand the factors that determine household choices of sanitation and their preference for ‘better’ sanitation in the urban slums of Kisumu, Kenya.
With the support of SHARE, WaterAid Bangladesh launched a Research Fellowship Programme in December last year to support Masters students with their field research in the area of sanitation and hygiene. The four students receiving the fellowship will attend universities in Bangladesh and undertake research into menstrual hygiene, social perceptions of hygiene, sanitation adaption practices in times of natural disaster, and hygiene in health facilities.