Prevalence and factors associated with nutritional outcomes in under-five children: the WASH-Nutrition Correlation Study

Overview
The WASH-Nutrition Correlation Study is a UNICEF-funded project conducted in three districts across Bangladesh – Rangpur, Comilla and Bandarban. The study commenced in September 2015 and is expected to be completed by March 2016. The objective of this descriptive cross-sectional study is to investigate associations between water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) and nutrition-related factors with the nutrition status of children under five years of age. Specifically, the study aims to do the following:
• Measure associations between socio-demographic factors and household WASH knowledge and practices
• Measure water coverage, collection, treatment and storage practices and their association with growth outcomes among under-five children
• Measure knowledge and practice regarding hygiene and their association with growth outcomes among under-five children
• Measure sanitation coverage and practices and their association with growth outcomes among under-five children
• Measure nutritional knowledge and practices and their association with growth outcomes among under-five children
A key outcome of this study is to provide an evidence base for more coordinated programming across WASH and nutrition sectors. The first phase involved a household assessment conducted between September - October 2015 using a structured questionnaire and a spot checklist. Based on the findings of this initial assessment, UNICEF are to provide an intervention to these households, following which a process monitoring phase will continue until March 2016.

Activities
For the initial assessment, the research team at the James P Grant School of Public Health, BRAC University (JPGSPH) developed a structured questionnaire to assess WASH and nutrition-related knowledge and practices, as well as a spot checklist to verify the findings from the questionnaire. Local data collectors from each of the three study sites were recruited and trained over five days on the tools, WASH and nutrition topics, GPS data collection, and anthropometric measurement. Data collection was conducted from 14 September - 31 October 2015. The preliminary findings from this data were disseminated at the WASH-Nutrition Joint Programming Workshop on 15 December 2015.

Partners/donor
Our development partners include the following:
• United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) (donor/partner)
• Department of Public Health Engineering (DPHE) (partner)
• Integrated Community Development Project (ICDP) (partner)

Highlights
The preliminary findings of the study were disseminated at the WASH-Nutrition Joint Programming Workshop organised by UNICEF on 15 December 2015. Participants from a number of development organisations, including the World Bank, icddr,b, UNICEF, Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), DPHE and JPGSPH attended the workshop. The day-long workshop included discussions on challenges, possible interventions, and the scope for joint programming in this area. Importantly, the findings of concurrent research from the World Bank, icddr,b and JPGSPH were presented at the forum to help guide the discussion sessions.