Briefing Note 4 - Social and Psychological Impact of Limited Access to Sanitation: The link between MHM and reproductive tract infections, and between WASH practices and pregnancy
Briefing Note 4 – Social and Psychological Impact of Limited Access to Sanitation: The link between MHM and reproductive tract infections, and between WASH practices and pregnancy
SHARE / WSSCC Research briefing notes – Impact of Inadequate Access to Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) facilities on women and girls in India and Bangladesh
The SHARE Research Consortium and the Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council (WSSCC) formed a research partnership in 2013 to investigate the specific impact of inadequate access to water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) facilities on women and girls in India and Bangladesh.
Women and girls are particularly disadvantaged as a result of multiple sociocultural and economic factors that deny them equal rights with men. Millions of women today are denied access or lack the facilities and means to manage the simple biological necessities of defecation and menstruation, and are often forced to adopt a range of coping strategies.
This partnership supports four studies which focus on:
- Specific WASH needs of women and the deleterious impact of coping strategies in Vadu, Maharashtra
- Hygiene in maternity wards in Gujarat and Dhaka
- Social and psychological impact of limited access to sanitation, the link between menstrual hygiene practices and reproductive tract infections, and between WASH practices and pregnancy outcomes in Bhubhaneshwar and Rourkela, Odisha
- Links between the psycho-social stress women face of where to relieve themselves and wider structural inequalities in Pune, Maharashtra and Jaipur, Rajasthan.
All four studies converge on the lack of safe and acceptable choices for women and girls. Links between unsafe sanitation and women and girls’ poor health in terms of stress and infections are raised and major evidence gaps are highlighted. The higher incidence of reproductive tract infections linked to poor menstrual hygiene management under socioeconomically deprived groups is striking. Also remarkable is the lack of WASH facilities accessible by pregnant women.