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Water, sanitation, and hygiene in emergencies: summary review and recommendations for further research

Water, sanitation, and hygiene interventions can interrupt diarrhoeal disease transmission and reduce the burden of morbidity and mortality associated with faecal-oral infections. We know that rapid response of effective WASH infrastructure and services can prevent or lessen the impact of diarrhoeal outbreaks that can exacerbate the human suffering accompanying humanitarian crises. In this review summary, we present an overview of current knowledge about what works to prevent disease in emergency WASH response. We know that providing safe water, safe excreta disposal, and basic hygiene measures such as hand washing with soap are effective interventions both within emergency settings as well as in longer-term development, but innovation and further research are needed to make WASH response more effective. We propose key areas for critical research to support the evidence base for WASH interventions in emergencies and promote innovation.

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