The Applications of Implementation Science in Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (WASH) Research and Practice.

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Date: June 2021
From: Environmental Health Perspectives(Vol. 129, Issue 6)
Publisher: National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences
Document Type: Report
Length: 10,162 words
Lexile Measure: 1480L

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Abstract :

Background: Delivery of high quality, at-scale, and sustained services is a major challenge in the water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) sector, made more challenging by a dearth of evidence-based models for adaption across contexts in low- and middle-income countries. Objective: We aim to describe the value of implementation science (IS) for the WASH sector and provide recommendations for its application. Methods: We review concepts from the growing field of IS--defined as the "scientific study of methods to promote the systematic uptake of research findings and other evidence-based practices into routine practice, and hence, to improve the quality and effectiveness of health services"-and we translate their relevance to WASH research, learning, and delivery. Discussion: IS provides a suite of methods and theories to systematically develop, evaluate, and scale evidence-based interventions. Though IS thinking has been applied most notably in health services delivery in high-income countries, there have been applications in low-income settings in fields such as HIV/AIDS and nutrition. Expanding the application of IS to environmental health, specifically WASH interventions, would respond to the complexity of sustainable service delivery. WASH researchers may want to consider applying IS guidelines to their work, including adapting pragmatic research models, using established IS frameworks, and cocreating knowledge with local stakeholders. https://doi.org/10.1289/EHP7762

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Gale Document Number: GALE|A667734648