Making the invisible, visible: Quantifying human experiences with water to improve public health

This lecture will deconstruct the WISE Scales which have now been implemented in more than 50 countries and revolutionised how water security is understood and measured.

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Problems with water quality and quantity are increasing in frequency and severity throughout the world with major implications for nutrition, health, and wellbeing.  

High-resolution, globally comparable data have been extremely helpful for understanding the human health impact of other health issues, e.g. food insecurity, but have not existed for water. To fill this gap, the Water In Security Experiences (WISE) Scales have been developed. This is a first-cross-country equivalent way of measuring water access and use that has now been used in more than 50 countries.

Professor Sera Young, visiting Professor from Northwestern University, will describe how the WISE Scales can be used to estimate the prevalence of water insecurity, make decisions about targeting resources, understand previously unrecognized causes of poor health outcomes, and evaluate the impact of water interventions. She will conclude by laying out the evidence to date about how water insecurity shapes poor nutrition, mental health, and ​physical health, and the implications of water insecurity in the face of climate change.​ 


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Sera L. Young, Visiting Professor at LSHTM

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Free and open to all. No registration required.