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Many schools in Kenya force girls to wear light-coloured uniforms. These show menstrual stains more easily, which shames the girls into staying away from school. Thomas Mukoya/Reuters

Kenyan schoolgirls dread their periods, but simple changes could help

The inclusion of menstrual hygiene in the Sustainable Development Goals marks an important step forward, but to what extent will it address the issue of schoolgirl absenteeism?
Improving maternal mortality and ending preventable deaths in children are some of the health targets in the Sustainable Development Goals. Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade/Flickr

More is less? Health in the Sustainable Development Goals

Health has secured its place as one of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals. But without clear mechanisms to report, finance or engage other sectors, could more end up as less?
New Delhi’s Yamuna River, like much of India’s water, is polluted. The world urgently needs low-carbon ways to clean things up. EPA/Harish Tyagi

Let’s make sure that cleaning up the world’s water doesn’t send our climate targets down the gurgler

Much of the world still lacks access to proper sanitation and clean water - an issue that needs urgent action. But without low-carbon technologies, clean water could come at the expense of the climate.
If achieved, the huge task of cleaning up India will significantly contribute to improving public health. Piyal Adhilary/EPA/AAP

Modi’s health agenda fit to walk not run

India's Modi-led progress on sanitation, rivers and life insurance is overshadowed by the need for a professionally staffed public health service.
A woman stands outside a makeshift toilet built by a resident of a slum colony based on the bank of the Yamuna River, India. Flickr/Gates Foundation

Providing the toilets people want will help Clean India’s campaign

Indian prime minister Narendra Modi has wowed audiences in Australia during his recent visit and used the occasion to remind people of his plan to provide a toilet at home for all Indians by 2019. The…
Lack of proper sanitation, as in these homes in Dhaka, Bangladesh, creates all sorts of risks to social and economic wellbeing.

Imagine life without a proper toilet: that’s the reality for 1 in 3 people

It’s 2014. So why do we still need World Toilet Day? Because 2.5 billion people still need one. World Toilet Day remains a critical means to raise awareness globally about one of the many important things…
What toilet? In this refugee camp, children play in the holes dug for latrines. Oxfam International

Solving the toilet shortage needs a bottom-up approach

Why does one third of the world’s population have inadequate sanitation? Hopefully I can shed a bit of light on this. You see, my work is shit – literally – which is why I call myself a water, sanitation…
Trouble is brewing underneath the city. Kirsty Wigglesworth/PA

Digging bigger sewers under London is expensive, but vital

London’s sewerage system is one of the wonders of the industrial world, and a prize example of great Victorian feats of engineering. The system was designed by the visionary Chief Engineer of the Metropolitan…

Using copper against ‘superbugs’

Using copper objects in hospitals reduces infection rates, a US study has found. Patients were randomly assigned to rooms…
Is our distaste for toilet talk halting sanitation improvements in the developing world? Alan Porritt/AAP

Loosen up, it’s time to talk about toilets

Bodily waste can be an embarrassing subject, but one that most of us can avoid thanks to efficient toilets and sewers. Nevertheless, this embarrassment may be holding back improvements in sanitation where…
Toilets aren’t just a bin for human waste - they’re a receptacle for future fertiliser. Gates Foundation

The other benefit of sanitation: from human waste to human food

What goes down our toilet is commonly viewed as waste. This makes intuitive sense because separating people from their excreta - sanitation - is arguably the single most important public health objective…

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