The Network strives to empower those people without access to improved water sources, plus those with improved but unsafe sources, to take charge of their own drinking water safety by working with communities to implement effective, affordable and sustainable HWTS interventions. Particular attention is given to those most affected by waterborne diseases, such as children, immunocompromised persons, the poor, refugees and internally displaced persons.
Integration of Household Water Treatment and Safe Storage into Health Programmes
Effectively preventing diarrhoeal disease in the most vulnerable, also requires addressing other conditions of ill-health, such as HIV, malnutrition, and respiratory disease, for which there are clear links. This can be done through integration, or the coordinated delivery of public health interventions through community nodes: health centres, campaigns and directly at the household level. Network participating organizations are actively working within HIV prevention and care, nutrition, child and maternal health, and emergency response efforts to ensure the most at risk for diarrhoeal disease are reached.
HIV Prevention and Care
The WHO recommends safe drinking-water, sanitation and hygiene as one of 13 essential and low-cost interventions for people living with HIV. Recommended strategies include household water treatment and safe storage, hand-washing with soap and improved sanitation.
Child and Maternal Health
Integration of household water treatment and safe storage with maternal health services utilizes an important opportunity to link childhood diarrhoeal disease prevention with antenatal visits and as a result "whole health" solutions. Network participating organizations are working directly with Governments in countries such as Kenya and Malawi
According to the most recent WHO estimates, , over one third of childhood deaths, or 3.5 million are due to and maternal undernutrition result in 4.8 million deaths each year. A key contributor to undernutrition in most parts of the world is diarrhea – both as a cause and consequence of undernutrition. A vicious cycle exists between diarrhea and undernutrition: children with diarrhea eat less and are less able to absorb the nutrients from their food; undernourished children are more susceptible to diarrhea when exposed to fecal material from their environment. Household water treatment is increasingly being used within efforts to comprehensively address the causes of malnutrition and in turn more effectively improve child health.
Household water treatment and safe storage can be an effective option for providing safe drinking-water during emergencies. Important advantages of HWTS compared to other interventions to improve drinking-water safety include: ability to rapidly deploy and target among populations most at risk for diarrhoeal disease in crisis areas, availability of several different proven options allows for optimizing selections based on local context.