E-discussion by UNC and RWSN, April 6 - 26: Responding to the current COVID-19 crisis: questions, resources, and implications for rural water supply at the operational level

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  • SeanFurey
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  • Water & Sanitation Specialist with Skat, mainly working for the Rural Water Supply Network (RWSN)
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Member questions from the RWSN e-discussion on COVID-19 and rural water/WASH

Dear SuSanA colleagues, we have been running an e-discussion to provide a space for rural water & WASH practitioners to ask questions on the current COVID-19 outbreak in relation to what the implications are at an operational level. There has been some good exchange on this Forum too, so I'm just helping to cross-fertilise between the two platforms, particularly where there are over-lapping interests. It hasn't be possible to get expert answers to all the questions, but we are working with the SWA Reseach & Learning constituency to identify key topics that would be valuable to cover in future SWA and/or RWSN webinars.

Questions emerging so far:
  • What are the impacts on malnutrition on the mortality rate of Covid19? What are other important comorbidities we might underestimate in developing countries (e.g. HIV, Tuberculosis), which are not a problem in developed countries?
  • En los Andes, que y como están haciendo las ONG para aliviar los hogares campesinos en esta crisis? O sea, que acciones inmediatas relacionadas al control y prevención del COVID, y acciones de apoyo a la economía campesina. Y, a mediano y largo
    plazo, que acciones para reducir estas vulnerabilidades en el futuro? (In the Andes, what and how are NGOs doing to alleviate homes peasants in this crisis? In other words, immediate actions related to the control and prevention of COVID, and actions to support the peasant economy. And, in the medium and long deadline, what actions to reduce these vulnerabilities in the future?)
  • Does COVID19 transmit from an infected person to a healthy person if fly/ mosquito or any other vectors sit on the eye lid, inside of nose or sides of lips of the infected and then fly to sit on any of the same parts of a healthy person?
  • My question is how inclusive your work especially for persons with disability and illiterate women?
  • is COVID 19 related to Climate conditions since I see it more happening in temperate climates than equatorial and tropical climates.
    Is really a mask necessary ? since I see different opinions
    Is really necessary to disinfect the whole city ? since I see a lot of different considerations
  • Situation demands emergency response to health facilities, quarantine locations and public places but the many development organizations can not operate in such situation due to policy limitation. However, the local people and government may feel that they did not receive support when it is required. The development organizations, most of local government units are not expert on COVID issue and can not make linkages between implications of corona virus and water supply services.
    How do we deal in such circumstances?
  •  In big cities we find the urban slum dwellers who are usually poor and lack access to WASH services. What is/are the ideal response for them?
  • My question is whether promoting community wells with hand pumps in rural areas has exacerbated the situation?
    From my standpoint. It has.
  • Preferred technologies, notably for sound waste management?
  • Is air quality an issue in COVID transmission in HCFs?
  • what is the link here to the rural population where movement is limited? Also, if there is need to prepare for an unexpected scenarios, what is the kind of preparedness is required? Some clarifications please, Knowing that the rural populations depends mostly here on the hand-pumps that are usually crowded and if such pandemic appear there it can becomes disastrous as the awareness level is very low without doubts.
  • Alors ma question est de savoir la methode de lavage des mains actuelle en Afrique risquerai t'elle pas de transmettre plus facilement encore le virus? Car le contact d'ouvrir et fermer les robinets sans mouchoir ne facilite pas le sejour du Virus? Quelle comportement adopté. (So my question is, does the current method of hand washing in Africa risk transmitting the virus even more easily? Because the contact of opening and closing the taps without handkerchief does not facilitate the stay of the Virus? What behavior adopted. )
  • How do you wash hands in water-stressed countries, where water is extremely scare and, is not available for frequent hand washing?
  • WHO and UNICEF recommend using ashes when soap is not available, but is this recommendation valid in current circumstances?
  • Maybe we can promote making organic soaps? 
  • Does anyone have research showing the proof that ash is effective in cleaning to the standards needed for this virus and others? Some our partner communities use it.
  • Any links of how to make local soap from leaves or fruit from plants that contain lathering substances (saponins )?
Moderator Questions (UNC)
  • How do we best deliver rural water services during this crisis? What are the most important vulnerabilities faced by rural water users? While some best practices have emerged around WaSH and COVID-19, many questions still remain unanswered; these are discussed in a recent RWSN Blog post:  https://rwsn.blog/2020/03/30/wash-and-coronavirus-knowns-unknowns-and-implications-for-monitoring-and-management/  .
  • What are your biggest concerns around COVID-19 and rural water supply currently?
  • How is your organization confronting the COVID-19 pandemic?
  • What environmental, individual, and behavioral risk factors and practices make populations most vulnerable to COVID-19 and other respiratory pandemic diseases?
  • Which WaSH interventions can be most rapidly and effectively reinforced to prevent COVID-19 transmission in rural areas? Should healthcare facilities be prioritized? Markets? Should implementers focus on improving safety at communal water points? Should all of these settings and measures receive equal priority? Or can spread to rural areas best be prevented by controlling transmission in denser urban settings?
  • Where communities rely on shared WaSH facilities, how can transmission risks at these facilities be minimized while ensuring adequate access and availability for hygiene?
  • What type of disaster preparedness should be incorporated into future rural water supply and management planning and programming? How can this extend to markets and health care facilities?
  • What is the best way to coordinate COVID-19 responses at local, national and international levels?
  • Which of the above unanswered questions are most urgent to address in order to help rural water supply implementers combat the current coronavirus pandemic? Are there others we should also consider?
  • Where are updated guidance and best practices most urgently needed?
  • In your work, what monitoring and evaluation activities are you currently engaged in related to water supply and COVID-19?
  • What additional monitoring activities (if any) are needed for an effective COVID-19 response where you work?
  • Are any additional tools, methods, best practices, or diagnostics needed to facilitate this monitoring?
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  • Elisabeth
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  • I'm passionate about SuSanA's role in the WASH sector since about 2005. I'm a freelance consultant since 2012 (former roles: program manager, lecturer, process engineer for wastewater treatment plants)
  • Posts: 3064
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Re: E-discussion by UNC and RWSN, April 6 - 26: Responding to the current COVID-19 crisis: questions, resources, and implications for rural water supply at the operational level

I am copying below the starting e-mail that was used for the time-bound e-Discussion that was facilitated by the RWSN (Rural Water Supply Network). Between RWSN and SuSanA we decided to do some cross-posting because the topic of hygiene / Covid is equally relevant for water supply people as it is for sanitation people.

That was the e-mail that introduced the e-discussion (they posted everything in three languages using Deepl to Translate - namely English, Spanish and French):

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RWSN-UNC E-Discussion – 6 - 27 April 
Welcome to Week 1 Discussion: Respondingto the current COVID-19 crisis: questions, resources, and implications for
rural water supply at the operational level 

https://dgroups.org/rwsn/rwsn_e-discussions/discussions/wlcy6f7g

Welcome, bienvenu, bienvenido to the RWSN e-discussions on Responding to the current
COVID-19 crisis: questions, resources, and implications for rural water supply at the operational level
 
A novelcoronavirus emerged in Wuhan, China in late 2019. The novel coronavirus,
SARS-CoV-2 (or COVID-19), has rapidly progressed to a global pandemic that has
infected more than 1 million people and impacted daily life across the globe.
 
As practitioners, researchers, and policy-makers engaged in work related to rural
water supply, the COVID-19 pandemic has raised many questions. How do we best
deliver rural water services during this crisis? What are the most important
vulnerabilities faced by rural water users?
 
While some best practices have emerged around WaSH and COVID-19, many questions still
remain unanswered; these are discussed in a recent RWSN Blog post (or see above): https://rwsn.blog/2020/03/30/wash-and-coronavirus-knowns-unknowns-and-implications-for-monitoring-and-management/ .
 
Over the next three weeks, we hope you will engage in open discussions around concerns,
priorities, and recommendations for operational rural water supply during the
COVID-19 Pandemic.
 
This week, please take a moment to let us know:
 
  • What areyour biggest concerns around COVID-19 and rural water supply currently?
  • How is your organization confronting the COVID-19 pandemic?
 
Thanks!
 
-Mike

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Mike Fisher
UNC
https://sph.unc.edu/adv_profile/michael-fisher/
Head moderator of this Discussion Forum
(under consultancy contract with Skat Foundation funded by WSSCC)

Dr. Elisabeth von Muench
Independent consultant located in Brisbane, Australia
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Twitter: @EvMuench
Founder of WikiProject Sanitation: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:WikiProject_Sanitation
My Wikipedia user profile: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User:EMsmile
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  • Elisabeth
  • Elisabeth's Avatar
  • I'm passionate about SuSanA's role in the WASH sector since about 2005. I'm a freelance consultant since 2012 (former roles: program manager, lecturer, process engineer for wastewater treatment plants)
  • Posts: 3064
  • Karma: 54
  • Likes received: 837

Re: E-discussion by UNC and RWSN, April 6 - 26: Responding to the current COVID-19 crisis: questions, resources, and implications for rural water supply at the operational level

Please see below the e-mail that Mike Fisher sent into the e-discussion by UNC and RWSN. It contains a kind of summary for Week 1 and further discussion points and questions for Week 2:

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Week 2: RWSN e-discussions on Responding to the current COVID-19 crisis:questions, resources, and implications for rural water supply at the operational level – 13 April 2020

Dear RWSNcommunity,

Thank you all so much for a warm, lively, and insightful response to our first
week’s kick-off post!

Based on last week’s discussion, many organizations appear to be taking rapid
action to respond to COVID-19.

Several responses highlighted rapid and intensive dissemination of
evidence-based recommendations on social distancing, hygiene, and other public
health guidance to prevent COVID-19 transmission. This is being done through a
range of channels including radio, TV, SMS messaging, and town criers.

Several responses also raised the importance of ensuring that recommended WaSH
facilities are present, functional, and accessible in homes and communities, as
well as in critical settings such as health care facilities and markets. Group
members have also pointed out the importance of ensuring safe WaSH practices in
these settings, with an emphasis on hand hygiene. Technologies such as pedal
taps and handwashing stations at strategic locations are being pursued by some
organizations to facilitate hygiene best-practices.

In the face of a rapidly moving pandemic, many of these activities and
suggestions offer practical insights into how organizations are working to
adapt and implement existing guidance based on what is currently known about
WaSH and COVID-19.

However, as many of you noted, key operational questions relevant to leveraging
WaSH solutions to disrupt COVID-19 transmission still remain unanswered. You
identified several critical areas in which open questions remain, including:
  1. What environmental, individual, and behavioral risk factors and practices make populations most vulnerable to COVID-19 and other respiratory pandemic diseases?
  2. Which WaSH interventions can be most rapidly and effectively reinforced to prevent COVID-19 transmission in rural areas? Should healthcare facilities be prioritized? Markets? Should implementers focus on improving safety at communal water points? Should all of these settings and measures receive equal priority?
  3. Or can spread to rural areas best be prevented by controlling transmission in denser urban settings?
  4. Where communities rely on shared WaSH facilities, how can transmission risks at these facilities be minimized while ensuring adequate access and availability for hygiene?
  5. What type of disaster preparedness should be incorporated into future rural water supply and management planning and programming? How can this extend to markets and health care facilities?
  6. What is the best way to coordinate COVID-19 responses at local, national and international levels?
Based on your current efforts and the discussions you are having through RWSN
and elsewhere, Which of the above unanswered questions are most urgent to address in order to
help rural water supply implementers combat the current coronavirus pandemic?
Are there others we should also consider?

Where are updated guidance and best practices most urgently needed?

Looking forward to another week of great discussion!

-Mike

+++++++++++++++++++
Head moderator of this Discussion Forum
(under consultancy contract with Skat Foundation funded by WSSCC)

Dr. Elisabeth von Muench
Independent consultant located in Brisbane, Australia
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Twitter: @EvMuench
Founder of WikiProject Sanitation: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:WikiProject_Sanitation
My Wikipedia user profile: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User:EMsmile
You need to login to reply
  • Elisabeth
  • Elisabeth's Avatar
  • I'm passionate about SuSanA's role in the WASH sector since about 2005. I'm a freelance consultant since 2012 (former roles: program manager, lecturer, process engineer for wastewater treatment plants)
  • Posts: 3064
  • Karma: 54
  • Likes received: 837

Re: E-discussion by UNC and RWSN, April 6 - 26: Responding to the current COVID-19 crisis: questions, resources, and implications for rural water supply at the operational level

Please see below the e-mail that Mike Fisher sent into the e-discussion by UNC and RWSN in April. It contains a summary for Week 2 and further discussion points and questions for Week 3:

++++++++++++++

Week 3: RWSN e-discussion on Responding to the currentCOVID-19 crisis: questions, resources, and implications for rural water supply at the operational level – 21 April 2020 

Dear RWSN community,
Thank you all for another wonderful week of lively and insightful discussions!

Your contributions suggest that many RWSN members are currently working to
understand and mitigate potential risks associated with use of shared water,
sanitation, and hygiene facilities, especially where multiple users may touch
the same surfaces at these facilities. Other members are working to disseminate
guidance on COVID-19 to WaSH committees and rural communities by a variety of methods,
including SMS reminders. Many have developed and shared guidance that may be
useful to other implementers and governments as well, and some members and
countries have undertaken sector coordination efforts in response to the
pandemic.

As rural water supply implementers, governments, civil society organizations,
and others move to develop, implement, and refine best practices for safely
delivering and sustaining rural water supply services in the face of a COVID-19
pandemic, there may be increasing need for effective monitoring and evaluation
to determine which practices are solutions are working, and to adapt and
continuously improve responses.

In your work, what monitoring and evaluation activities are you currently
engaged in related to water supply and COVID-19?

What additional monitoring activities (if any) are needed for an effective
COVID-19 response where you work?

Are any additional tools, methods, best practices, or diagnostics needed to
facilitate this monitoring?

We look forward to reading your thoughts and comments on these topics over the
coming week. In addition, we will be presenting a webinar on COVID-19 and Rural
Water Supply, and would enjoy your participation and contributions on that
platform as well.

RWSN Webinar Announcement: April 21, 2020 - Responding to the current COVID-19
crisis: questions, resources, and implications for rural water supply at the
operational level

Webinar recording here .

++++++++++++++
Head moderator of this Discussion Forum
(under consultancy contract with Skat Foundation funded by WSSCC)

Dr. Elisabeth von Muench
Independent consultant located in Brisbane, Australia
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Twitter: @EvMuench
Founder of WikiProject Sanitation: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:WikiProject_Sanitation
My Wikipedia user profile: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User:EMsmile
You need to login to reply
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