Webinar 6: Dialogue on the need for mainstreaming non-sewered sanitation solutions – lessons from COVID -19 response

April 8, 2020


Due to its global spread and severity, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has declared the current COVID-19 outbreak a pandemic. Official guidance from the WHO on measures for mitigating against the spread of the disease include practicing social distancing, regularly washing or sanitizing hands and contact surfaces, and covering sneezes. While these measures have been shown to be effective in well-organized and resourced environments, mitigating the spread of COVID19 in less resourced environments like South Africa that are characterized by scarce water resources, poor water quality, lack or limited access to water, sanitation and health care and hygiene services, will require swift and radical responses.

It is known improved sanitation is one of the key elements in managing the transmission of COVID -19. Containment and treatment of human waste becomes key, as well as that of individual household sanitation systems. Being an important barrier, it can also be a very important vector/pathway in the transmission of COVID if proper hand hygiene and sanitation hygiene is not maintained. Our responses to WASH, specifically from a sanitation perspective has been much more difficult and challenging, as compared to water due to a lack of alternative solutions and off grid (on-site) sanitation solutions. COVID has exposed this gap especially in low income and informal settlements. COVID has offered the opportunity for the non-sewered community and industry to accelerate efforts to providing new off-grid sanitation solutions.

Several developing countries have similar challenges of rolling out sanitation in an emergency. The timing, the speed and effectiveness are all key aspects for the COVID response. Further managing and planning for handling human waste is another key component and risk. Sharing these challenges and lessons from developing countries is very important as it highlight the shortcomings of current sanitation solutions. These are not appropriate and designed for the modern challenges we will be expecting in the future (such as lack of water, new outbreaks etc.)

The WRC will be hosting a virtual dialogue to facilitate the meeting of a body of experts who can provide advice and ideas on specific sector related challenges. The aim of this webinar is to share knowledge and explore effective solutions and mechanisms for post COVID-19 and similar events, as well as increase the awareness and need to shift technology paradigms in new non-sewered sanitation solutions.


Webinar Director    
Jay Bhagwan
Executive Manager,
Water Use and Waste Management
Email: jayb@wrc.org.za


Tags: Webinar,

Covid experiences and challenges with sanitation from India
By: Suresh Kumar Rohilla,
Senior Director, Water Programme, CSE
Covid experiences and challenges with sanitation from Uganda
By: Cate Zziwa Nimanya
Country Director  Water For People in Uganda
Fecal pathogens in bioaerosols in cities with poor sanitation bioaerosols
By: Marc Deshusses, Stewart Farling, Lucas Rocha-Melogno
Duke University, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering Durham, NC. USA
Lessons from COVID 19 and the case for NSS
By: Jay Bhagwan
Water Research Commission
Shifting To An Exposure Mindset: How A Strong Trans-disciplinary Approach Can Guide Effective COVID-19 Response In Informal Settlements In Durban
By: Dr. Rebecca Sindall, Pollution Research Group, University of KwaZulu-Natal
Meet the Speakers
Dhesigen Naidoo
Dr Suresh Rohilla
Senior Director, CSE India
Prof Kartik Chandran,
University of Columbia
Cate Nimanya,
Water for People Uganda
Mr Jay Bhagwan,
Executive Manager, WRC
Prof. Marc Deshusses,
Duke University, NC. USA
Dr. Rebecca Sindall,
Pollution Research Group, University of KwaZulu-Natal