Now that you have completed this study session, you can assess how well you have achieved its Learning Outcomes by answering these questions.
Rewrite the paragraph below using terms from the list provided to fill the gaps.
employment, peri-urban areas, population density, productive, rural areas, sanitation, slum areas, urban areas, urbanisation, WASH services, water supply.
Increasing scarcity of ……………… land for farming and the prospect of better ……………… opportunities are encouraging more and more people in low-income countries to move from ……………… to towns and cities. This ……………… has led to many people living in ……………… of poor housing that lack essential services. Towns and cities are also spreading over larger areas of land with expanding ……………… that have mixed urban and rural characteristics. The ……………… in ……………… is much higher than in rural areas. This creates challenges for providers of ……………… because of the high demand for ……………… and effective ……………… systems.
Increasing scarcity of productive land for farming and the prospect of better employment opportunities are encouraging more and more people in low-income countries to move from rural areas to towns and cities. This urbanisation has led to many people living in slum areas of poor housing that lack essential services. Towns and cities are also spreading over larger areas of land with expanding peri-urban areas that have mixed urban and rural characteristics. The population density in urban areas is much higher than in rural areas. This creates challenges for providers of WASH services because of the high demand for water supply and effective sanitation systems.
Describe the particular challenges of providing WASH services in urban settings arising from each of the following factors.
The particular challenges for providing WASH services in urban areas arising from these factors include:
Imagine that you are conducting a community meeting on WASH issues and you have highlighted to the participants that the needs of vulnerable groups of people require adequate attention in WASH interventions. One participant asks you to clarify which specific issues are important to physically disabled people and how these issues can be addressed or provided for. What will be your explanation?
The key challenge for physically disabled people in using WASH facilities is the lack of proper access. If latrines are far away and/or located in corners and over paths that are rugged or marshy, disabled individuals, particularly those without mobility aids, such as wheelchairs, will face enormous difficulty in accessing and using such facilities on a daily basis. To address the problem, the latrines should be located nearby and designed with the needs of disabled people in mind. For example, they should have extra space inside, supporting rails, wider doors and ramps for access by wheelchair users.
Your explanation should also mention the cleanliness and sanitary conditions of the latrines, which are equally important. Where there are no special provisions (rooms and supports), disabled people will have no option but to use the facilities that are suited for non-disabled people. If these are not kept clean, disabled people will have to use the facilities with much discomfort and struggle, and with increased health risks.
You can also explain these challenges in the context of water supply facilities, where the location, design and access to the water supply point should consider the needs of disabled people.
One of the factors that can cause problems in an emergency situation is contamination of water supply systems. Explain how this can cause problems, identify what those problems might be and outline two interventions that could help to tackle them.
Water supply systems are a very common route for transmission of disease-causing micro-organisms to communities and these risks are increased in emergency situations. The organisms can enter the system at the source or through weak joints in the distribution system. This is particularly likely to happen if pipes have been allowed to become empty.
Appropriate interventions which would help to tackle this problem include:
- proper maintenance and operation of water supply systems
- promoting the use of point-of-use water treatment chemicals.