WHO CC Newsletter No. 29 - December 2019

Dear Reader,

Have you ever had a “gut feeling”? The role of our largest sensory organ – the gut – has been overlooked by science for a long time. Only recently we understand that there is a gastrointestinal-nervous system circuit. Potentially, gut microbes can interact through gut epithelial cells with our nervous system. Research is also looking into microbiota and the microbiome can provide information on the biodiversity of the microbiota in a certain habitat, and also spatio-temporal changes. Our gut microbiome has become intensively analyzed and the more we discover the less we know and more and more questions appear. Nowadays, it is common knowledge that antibiotics affect the gut microbiota, but what about other substances that we are exposed to regularly? How do they affect our microbiota? Could there be larger impacts on health than we think?
If our gut microbiota is affected, our nutrient uptake might be affected, too. Diarrhea, helminth infections and environmental enteropathy affect the nutritional status. Increasing the access to WASH for all and achieving SDG 6 is helping to reduce theses diseases and by this improving the nutritional status. Like the diversity of microbiota proofs to be beneficial for health, a diversity of methods and approaches are benefical for upscaling WASH. From data acquisition in the field to the development of policies, transdisciplinary action is taken and we are pleased to be able to share with you some aspects of this tremendous work. This year we could also celebrate the 20th anniversary of the adoption of the Protocol on Water and Health. We are sharing with you a number of publications in this newsletter that have been launched during the 5th Meeting of the Parties this year, and are proud to have contributed to some.
We don´t know what 2020 has to offer, but we should consider to trust our gut more often, because billions of organisms in it might know better than a single human brain


Andrea Rechenburg




  • Microbiomes: An Undervalued Impact of Water Treatment on Human Gut Health?
  • Impact of open defecation practice and community drinking water quality: A case study of Siaya County, Kenya
  • Water and Health Research, Policy and Practice: Holistic, interdisciplinary, mixed methods approaches
  • Managing drinking water risks takes time
  • Protocol on Water and Health - Publications



WHO CC Newsletter No. 29: high (pdf, 3.2 MB) / low (pdf, 0.7 MB)