Building Healthier Communities through Improved Nutrition and Sanitation

Fact Sheet

Clean water, nutritious food, and a hygienic environment— these are the building blocks of health for any community. Yet, these necessities are out of reach for many families in low-resource environments. As a result, malnutrition contributes to 45 percent of childhood deaths worldwide. Combined with micronutrient deficiencies, malnourishment stunts children's physical and cognitive development, the consequences of which are life-long. Diarrhea, many cases of which can be attributed to contaminated water and inadequate sanitation and hygiene, is a leading cause of childhood malnutrition and death.

To mitigate these problems MSH implements evidence-based programs to improve nutrition and water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) practices in developing countries. These interventions facilitate the adoption of healthy behaviors, such as early, exclusive breastfeeding and complementary feeding at home, and create community demand for key preventive interventions, such as vitamin A supplementation and improved sanitation facilities. At the facility level, we train public and private providers to provide better curative nutrition services and improve the policies, technical guidelines, and management practices for nutrition and WASH services.