Stories by Tanvi Nagpal

Expert Voices

Sanitation workers often neglected as countries expand access to toilets

a public toilet on side of the street with two men standing in front
A public toilet in Chennai, India. Photo: Arun Sankar/AFP via Getty Images

As developing countries continue to improve plumbing and provide toilets, many have left sanitation workers suffering from weak legal protections, poverty and social stigma, according to a recent joint report from the World Bank, WHO, ILO and WaterAid.

Why it matters: The workers who connect and clean toilets and sewers are on the front lines of a major global health campaign. According to UN Water, 4.2 billion people live without safely managed sanitation and 673 million use no toilet at all, a situation that compounds poor hygiene in causing 432,000 diarrhea deaths every year.

Expert Voices

Dry taps in India and Zimbabwe signal looming urban water crises

bicyclist transporting colored water cans
A cycle cart of water cans in Chennai, India. Photo: Atul Loke/Getty Images

A dangerous combination of hot and dry weather, poor water management and rising demand is leaving cities such as Chennai, India, and Harare, Zimbabwe, without water for days on end.

The big picture: The pressures on municipal water supplies are likely to worsen with the effects of climate change. Cape Town, South Africa, narrowly averted its "Day Zero" last year, but cities in 17 other countries classified as high stress could soon face their own water crises.

Expert Voices

Mounting cholera cases add to post-cyclone challenges in Mozambique

Children in a medical treatment tent in Beira, Mozambique.
A medical treatment tent in Beira, Mozambique. Photo: Yasuyoshi Chiba/AFP/Getty Images

Cholera has returned in the aftermath of the deadly Cyclone Idai that devastated large swaths of southern Africa on March 15.

Why it matters: Catastrophic events have the potential to reverse health, education and income gains in countries like Mozambique and Malawi, which are among the poorest in the world. Approximately half the population in both countries live below the official poverty lines, and many lack access to safe water and toilets.