Wish for Wash

Article, Global Health, Research

Improving Public Health Through Smart Sanitation and Digital Water – Wish for WASH Case Study

The white paper highlights the need for a global architecture that facilitates the efficient sharing of data and information across countries, states, or territories to enhance global health surveillance. It also reiterates the idea of collaborative ecosystems, where sanitation and water operators work with municipalities and governments to map their systems and usage data. These data streams create additional value for existing systems, and can shift responses to disease outbreak from reactive to preventative. While COVID-19 has significantly and probably irreversibly affected the economic, social, and cultural fabric of governance, those managing water and sanitation systems across the globe are rethinking their operating style and response mechanisms to adapt to the crisis. Through the global response to COVID-19, a new social contract is emerging around health and hygiene. Communities around the world are turning to environmental surveillance, and specifically wastewater-based epidemiology, as a complementary tool to prepare and respond better to the current COVID-19 pandemic and future outbreaks of disease by monitoring public health at the aggregate level. To accelerate the pace of innovation, this paper calls upon governments, investors, sanitation and water operators, and data experts for their collaboration in building this new data infrastructure and in rethinking ways to build back better, stronger, and more resilient. (Wish for WASH is a contributing writer in this piece)