SuSanA - Forum Kunena Site Syndication http://www.forum.susana.org/ Tue, 16 Sep 2014 04:52:47 +0000 Kunena 1.6 http://www.forum.susana.org/components/com_kunena/template/default/images/icons/rss.png SuSanA - Forum http://www.forum.susana.org/ en-gb Re: Wastewater reuse scheme in Braunschweig, Germany - is this an ecosan system? Is it good/sustainable? - by: KaiMikkel http://www.forum.susana.org/forum/categories/40-irrigation-greywater-or-wastewater-reuse/10089-wastewater-reuse-scheme-in-braunschweig-germany-is-this-an-ecosan-system-is-it-goodsustainable?limit=12&start=12#10188 http://www.forum.susana.org/forum/categories/40-irrigation-greywater-or-wastewater-reuse/10089-wastewater-reuse-scheme-in-braunschweig-germany-is-this-an-ecosan-system-is-it-goodsustainable?limit=12&start=12#10188
Moreover, there's a growing body of evidence that suggests that sludge is anything but free from human pathogens (recall that we only test and control for a few indicator pathogens) and that it (and the infrastructure that produces it) is serving as a very effective breeding ground for antibiotic resistance bacteria.

I echo your echoing of my concern regarding toxics in sludge. Amazingly, at least here in the US, the jury's still out regarding the extent of the threat that's posed by the plethora of the industrial toxins present in sludge. But like the above, there's a growing body of evidence that suggests that these synthetic pollutants - the vast majority of which no one tests for and which are subject to bioaccumulation and biomagnification - are taken up by food crops and feed crops and that they also migrate down into the soil, enter the water table and/or flow into surface waters (thanks to erosion) likely ending up on our plates and in our glasses. In general, thanks to the corrupting influence of industry which has acted effectively to limit the amount of independent research that's been done to date (or discredited same), we're only just beginning to scratch the surface regarding what we're up against when it comes to toxics in sludge (or,for that matter, toxics in water). So, given this, I think its disingenuous at best to state that sludge is safe. We simply don't know for sure, but things aren't looking good.

I think the facts do show that there exists only a very limited accounting of what's in sludge and that this is a deliberate action by regulators (which is curiously highly favorable to industry) in order to permit the continued dumping of this highly toxic material onto agricultural land and other land. Landfills and incinerators are expensive so government is catering to the lowest common denominator by essentially expanding the boundaries of our landfills to include (in the case of Class A sludge) basically everywhere. This is obviously moving us in the direction opposite from where we need to be going which is towards truly sustainable alternatives. And knowing what I know about the highly suspect industry funded studies that you allude to (that show all is well) and other independent third party studies which show quite the opposite, I am moved to err on the side of caution and to push for what by all logical reasoning are safer and far more lasting options.

Its important to note the following:

-- Dry toilets don't waste precious water like flush toilets do;
-- Dry toilets, assuming they are managed appropriately, do not directly pollute water - exactly the opposite of flush toilets.
-- The byproduct(s) of dry toilets, assuming that the pharmaceutical angle is properly addressed and certain precautions are taken to reduce pathogens, represents a free source of vital plant nutrients whereas the byproducts of WWTPs are basically a "toxic soup";
-- Onsite greywater systems mimic the natural water cycle, the opposite of what sewers do; and
-- Reliance on onsite rainwater harvesting and storage absolutely demands conservation which is exactly opposite from the effect that's produced by being hooked up to a pressurized (and seemingly endless) municipal supply.

Said another way, it seems to me that a person who not connected to municipal water and sewer but is the recipient of a targeted education campaign, is provided with secure options when it comes to the disposal of toxic substances and who is also outfitted with and reliant on a dry toilet, onsite rainwater harvesting and storage (or deliveries of finite supplies of water) and onsite greywater generally won't make excessive use of water nor will they tend to irrevocably pollute water or their immediate surroundings. This is in marked contrast to a person who is connected to a seemingly endless municipal water supply and a bottomless sewer. We still have the resources in the West that would allow us to dramatically reinvent the way we manage water, washwater and human excreta. We only lack the will.]]>
Irrigation, greywater or wastewater reuse Tue, 16 Sep 2014 03:58:49 +0000
Re: Sanitation Product Development for Sub-Saharan Africa - affordable, aspirational latrine products, SaTo (American Standard Brands, USA and Water for People) - by: Alfonso http://www.forum.susana.org/forum/categories/106-user-interface/10144-sanitation-product-development-for-sub-saharan-africa-affordable-aspirational-latrine-products-sato-american-standard-brands-usa-and-water-for-people#10187 http://www.forum.susana.org/forum/categories/106-user-interface/10144-sanitation-product-development-for-sub-saharan-africa-affordable-aspirational-latrine-products-sato-american-standard-brands-usa-and-water-for-people#10187
We are currently working on Sanitation Marketing component within the framework of a basic sanitation programme/campaign in Tanzania and it looks it may solve some challenges we have encountered when looking for affordable and hygienic latrine solutions.

Please keep us updated.

Thanks.


Alfonso]]>
User interface Tue, 16 Sep 2014 01:42:36 +0000
Re: Ecosan - what is it really? And what is the problem with ecosan? Is there a problem? Too much ecosan in SuSanA? - by: KaiMikkel http://www.forum.susana.org/forum/categories/40-irrigation-greywater-or-wastewater-reuse/10089-wastewater-reuse-scheme-in-braunschweig-germany-is-this-an-ecosan-system-is-it-goodsustainable?limit=12&start=12#10186 http://www.forum.susana.org/forum/categories/40-irrigation-greywater-or-wastewater-reuse/10089-wastewater-reuse-scheme-in-braunschweig-germany-is-this-an-ecosan-system-is-it-goodsustainable?limit=12&start=12#10186
And no, burning this material is hardly safe as one still ends up with highly toxic fly ash. Plus, the huge investments that incinerators represent and the fact that they create an unending demand for sludge together makes it very hard to argue for alternatives (they become self-fulfilling prophesies). Just like garbage incinerators which beget more garbage (which begets more consumption, which begets more garbage, etc.) and which even require incinerator operators having to travel further and further afield to source feedstock. And in this day and age isn't resorting to the ancient technology of burning something a sure sign of laziness and/or lack of imagination? We can and must do better and not producing sludge in the first place seems to me the most logical place to start. Plus, just because we've been doing it one way for the last thirty or forty years doesn't mean that we have to continue doing so, particularly when there are inexpensive alternatives.]]>
Irrigation, greywater or wastewater reuse Mon, 15 Sep 2014 20:18:21 +0000
Re: Simple urine valves to control odour on waterless urinals or on urine diversion toilets - by: Ababu http://www.forum.susana.org/forum/categories/34-urine-diversion-systems-includes-uddt-and-ud-flush-toilet/6679-simple-urine-valves-to-control-odour-on-waterless-urinals-or-on-urine-diversion-toilets?limit=12&start=24#10185 http://www.forum.susana.org/forum/categories/34-urine-diversion-systems-includes-uddt-and-ud-flush-toilet/6679-simple-urine-valves-to-control-odour-on-waterless-urinals-or-on-urine-diversion-toilets?limit=12&start=24#10185 Urine diversion systems (includes UDDT and UD flush toilet) Mon, 15 Sep 2014 19:40:25 +0000 Re: Ecosan - what is it really? And what is the problem with ecosan? Is there a problem? - by: JKMakowka http://www.forum.susana.org/forum/categories/39-any-other-topic-related-to-sanitation-or-to-susana/10021-ecosan-what-is-it-really-and-what-is-the-problem-with-ecosan-is-there-a-problem?limit=12&start=36#10184 http://www.forum.susana.org/forum/categories/39-any-other-topic-related-to-sanitation-or-to-susana/10021-ecosan-what-is-it-really-and-what-is-the-problem-with-ecosan-is-there-a-problem?limit=12&start=36#10184 Any other topic related to sanitation or to SuSanA Mon, 15 Sep 2014 19:30:06 +0000 Re: Ecosan - what is it really? And what is the problem with ecosan? Is there a problem? Too much ecosan in SuSanA? - by: KaiMikkel http://www.forum.susana.org/forum/categories/39-any-other-topic-related-to-sanitation-or-to-susana/10021-ecosan-what-is-it-really-and-what-is-the-problem-with-ecosan-is-there-a-problem?limit=12&start=36#10183 http://www.forum.susana.org/forum/categories/39-any-other-topic-related-to-sanitation-or-to-susana/10021-ecosan-what-is-it-really-and-what-is-the-problem-with-ecosan-is-there-a-problem?limit=12&start=36#10183 ]]> Any other topic related to sanitation or to SuSanA Mon, 15 Sep 2014 19:17:17 +0000 Re: Ecosan - what is it really? And what is the problem with ecosan? Is there a problem? - by: KaiMikkel http://www.forum.susana.org/forum/categories/39-any-other-topic-related-to-sanitation-or-to-susana/10021-ecosan-what-is-it-really-and-what-is-the-problem-with-ecosan-is-there-a-problem?limit=12&start=36#10182 http://www.forum.susana.org/forum/categories/39-any-other-topic-related-to-sanitation-or-to-susana/10021-ecosan-what-is-it-really-and-what-is-the-problem-with-ecosan-is-there-a-problem?limit=12&start=36#10182

But while I can appreciate your notion of using rainwater to transport human waste I can't help but wonder if even this is somewhat misguided. After all I used to think the same thing - that those countries/regions/states that we generally think of as having plenty of water actually do - until I began looking deeper. For instance, I was shocked to discover that my own region of the world (the northeastern United States), a place I'd assumed is blessed with ample water - given the prevalence of precipitation and surface bodies of water - is actually experiencing water scarcity. Of course, here the rates of deliberate rainwater capture (rainwater harvesting and storage) are very low so there's a lot of room for expanding its use, but given our inability to manage the groundwater and surface bodies of water already available to us I worry that we'd ultimately exhaust rainwater too (were we to allocate it to sewers for the purposes of transporting human excreta).

And while I knew well that in contrast to per capita water usage in other industrialized countries (like Germany) our consumption of water here in the United States was totally unsustainable, what I didn't fully appreciate is how out of sync with natural limits our water consumption is - that is, until I learned that in nearby Rockland County (NY) there are actually plans afoot to construct a desalination plant on the banks of the Hudson Rover:

www.riverkeeper.org/.../waterf.../united-water-desal/

...and that elsewhere around New England (and the greater New England area) there are several other desalination plants already in operation.

Aquaria Taunton River Desalination Plant in Dighton, MA – http://www.aquariawater.com/

Swansea Desalination Facility in Swansea, MA – http://www.hdrinc.com/portf.../swansea-desalination-facility

Cape May Desalination Facility in Cape May, New Jersey - http://www.capemaycity.com/sustain.../WaterConservation.html

Keansburg Desalination Facility in Keansburg, New Jersey – www.mycentraljersey.com/article/B3/20120...y=mod_sectionstories

Obviously the existence of these facilities contradicts the commonly held belief that our region is a water-rich part of the world. Desalination, as you know, is an incredibly energy intensive and expensive (and polluting) technology that has historically been reserved for the most water scarce regions of the world (mostly desert nations). So, to find examples of it cropping up in my own backyard was quite ominous. And though I am just guessing here, I think that were we to undertake a serious review of the conditions in other similarly situated places (industrialized regions with unsustainable human populations, for instance) we'd find all kinds of corollaries.

Based on this reality, therefore, I don't think there's a place anywhere (at least in my own country) where water should be used to transport human excreta. We've proven that we can't be trusted with managing the basic elements of the process and so I worry that adding more water into the mix (in the form of captured rainwater) would just prolong the inevitable.

As for your assertion of legacy wastewater systems being, "...way too expensive in construction and operation to be of any use in ~80% of the world," I agree wholeheartedly and I'd even go so far as to argue that my own country should be included in your 80% figure. I base this on the fact that not only are we totally irresponsible when it comes to water usage but we're already having trouble maintaining our existing sanitation infrastructure (and we're yet not experiencing the full combined effects of the looming low-energy future and climate change). This is why I am advocating locally in Vermont for the kind of sustainable approaches that most of you are pursuing in locations throughout the Majority World (and in a few select pockets in the Minority World too).

In fact, my thinking has come so far that I now believe it to be flush toilets that are the inferior technology. This is so ingrained that every time I'm forced to use a flush toilet (which is to say almost all of the time) I am filled with disgust at the utter waste. The question I have for you, therefore, is do we need to devise an ecological/sustainable toilet design that's not seen as inferior to flush toilets (as you suggest) or do we need to open people's eyes to the realities that we all face and to the clear benefits of existing sustainable designs? I'm partial to the latter because I really believe that most people are looking for a way to do something positive and that with just a little encouragement these same folks could be convinced to embrace existing ecological toilet technology as a very effective means to this end. Otherwise, waiting for the "perfect" toilet design to come along might mean that we'll be waiting forever.]]>
Any other topic related to sanitation or to SuSanA Mon, 15 Sep 2014 19:01:54 +0000
Re: Health information on Wikipedia is going from strength to strength - can we do the same for sanitation (together with others)? - by: JKMakowka http://www.forum.susana.org/forum/categories/54-wg-1-cap-development/10174-health-information-on-wikipedia-is-going-from-strength-to-strength-can-we-do-the-same-for-sanitation-together-with-others#10181 http://www.forum.susana.org/forum/categories/54-wg-1-cap-development/10174-health-information-on-wikipedia-is-going-from-strength-to-strength-can-we-do-the-same-for-sanitation-together-with-others#10181 But it is more about information that is useful to the general public and as an entry point for more in-depth studies. It should definitely link to places like the e-compendium, SuSanA and AKVOpedia (to name a few), but more or less duplicating that content on the Wikipedia just adds one more place for "data maintenance".

Individual health information (as opposed to public health or sanitation information) is of much more use to the general public, and having a relatively neutral and crowd-reviewed place for it like the Wikipedia should ensure that less advertisements for specific drugs or non-scientific "cures" are included in what you find.]]>
WG 1 (cap. development) Mon, 15 Sep 2014 14:42:03 +0000
Re: Wastewater reuse scheme in Braunschweig, Germany - is this an ecosan system? Is it good/sustainable? - by: joeturner http://www.forum.susana.org/forum/categories/40-irrigation-greywater-or-wastewater-reuse/10089-wastewater-reuse-scheme-in-braunschweig-germany-is-this-an-ecosan-system-is-it-goodsustainable?limit=12&start=12#10180 http://www.forum.susana.org/forum/categories/40-irrigation-greywater-or-wastewater-reuse/10089-wastewater-reuse-scheme-in-braunschweig-germany-is-this-an-ecosan-system-is-it-goodsustainable?limit=12&start=12#10180
PCBs, for example, are an obvious worry because the concentrations needed in the environment to be a problem are in the Parts Per Trillion.]]>
Irrigation, greywater or wastewater reuse Mon, 15 Sep 2014 12:40:48 +0000
Re: Mobile Luxury Loos - Loowatt Demonstrates the New Loowatt Event System at Latitude Festival 2014 (Great Britain) - by: ennoschroeder http://www.forum.susana.org/forum/categories/52-mobile-or-portable-solutions-public-toilets/9493-mobile-luxury-loos-loowatt-demonstrates-the-new-loowatt-event-system-at-latitude-festival-2014-great-britain#10179 http://www.forum.susana.org/forum/categories/52-mobile-or-portable-solutions-public-toilets/9493-mobile-luxury-loos-loowatt-demonstrates-the-new-loowatt-event-system-at-latitude-festival-2014-great-britain#10179
thanks for sharing these infos and the nice pictures!

They look very nice and clean in such a festival environment.

Let me ask you a few questions:
  • Do people have to pay per use?
  • If yes, how much is that?
  • In the pictures you show a very nice container with two cubicles. Is that a pilot scale application? What is Loowatt's plan in terms of larger scale application?
  • What is the reaction of event managers towards your toilets?
  • What are you doing with the collected material?

Thanks for sharing your experiences and all the best!
Cheers,
Enno]]>
Mobile or portable solutions, public toilets Mon, 15 Sep 2014 12:07:20 +0000
Wastewater reuse scheme in Braunschweig, Germany - is this an ecosan system? Is it good/sustainable? - by: muench http://www.forum.susana.org/forum/categories/40-irrigation-greywater-or-wastewater-reuse/10089-wastewater-reuse-scheme-in-braunschweig-germany-is-this-an-ecosan-system-is-it-goodsustainable?limit=12&start=12#10178 http://www.forum.susana.org/forum/categories/40-irrigation-greywater-or-wastewater-reuse/10089-wastewater-reuse-scheme-in-braunschweig-germany-is-this-an-ecosan-system-is-it-goodsustainable?limit=12&start=12#10178
It is interesting that Joe Turner (with his focus on pathogen removal) says:

Well faecal sludge applied to land in Europe is a) tested and b) risk assessed. So yes, in general, treated sludge is safe to apply to land.


Whereas Kai is more concerned here about the micropullants, e.g. pharmaceutical residues, and other "nasties", such as PCBs.

In Germany, the situation is not as clear cut as it seems to be in Switzerland from where Florian reported: some states of Germany allow land application (reuse of sludge on farm land) and others prescribe incineration. By the way, work conducted to remove phosphorus from sludge ash after incineration has shown that this is possible but currently still too expensive.

Coming back to the Braunschweig case, as it is such an interesting example:

Arno, do you or anyone else know exactly what measures the municipality of Braunschweig has put in place to control the discharge of industrial effluent into their sewer system?
I guess there is not so much industry in Braunschweig (250,556 people according to Wikipedia) but still, have they managed to ensure that each factory has its own on-site treatment system? Do they have a large team of trade waste inspectors that monitor the operations of factories and small-scale industries? Is it tightly controlled and fines imposed if necessary?

Also what about hospitals, have the operators of the sewer system also managed to keep the hospital effluent out of the municipal sewer system? That would be great (perhaps the same would apply for old age homes where perhaps lots of medical drugs are used as well)?

I think if you keep industrial wastewater and hospital wastewater (or let's say "non domestic sources") separate from the purely domestic wastewater, then the effluent and sludge from the wastewater treatment plant could be relatively free of toxins and heavy metals, and therefore application to land less of a concern. (source separation is one of the things that many ecosan systems employ, but it is not a "must have" to qualify as ecosan)

Personally, the word "ecosan" doesn't come to mind for me when looking at the Braunschweig case (but I also don't mind if someone wants to call it ecosan on the basis of its reuse aspects). Whether a sanitation system uses dry toilets or not does not define ecosan. We used to call ecosan also "closing the loop" (between sanitation and agriculture with regards to nutrient cycling) and in this case, such a wastewater reuse scheme would be a rather "large loop", compared to the "small loop" which would exist at a household scale system.

For me it is an example of a seemingly successful wastewater reuse scheme. And perhaps an example of a sustainable sanitation system specifically for this case in Germany (no shortage of water, skilled staff available etc.), although I don't really know enough about it (e.g. financial sustainability? Social acceptance seems to be there as it's never mentioned in the news in Germany as a controversial scheme.)

Oh and Kai, I agree with you that we should not blindly try to "export" such sewer-based schemes to developing countries. I don't think anyone would argue with you on that one. Each situation needs to be looked at as a case by case basis. In some cases, a DEWATS system might be most sustainable. In some cases it's dry toilets (UDDTs) or simple composting toilets like Arborloos. And in even other cases it could be sewer systems and centralised treatment plants (e.g. with biogas production from anaerobic sludge digesters). And so forth. One should never generalise and assume that one solution will fit all kinds of cases.
Or would you prescribe dry toilets for everyone everywhere at all times?

Regards,
Elisabeth]]>
Irrigation, greywater or wastewater reuse Mon, 15 Sep 2014 11:50:14 +0000
Re: Health information on Wikipedia is going from strength to strength - can we do the same for sanitation (together with others)? - by: muench http://www.forum.susana.org/forum/categories/54-wg-1-cap-development/10174-health-information-on-wikipedia-is-going-from-strength-to-strength-can-we-do-the-same-for-sanitation-together-with-others#10177 http://www.forum.susana.org/forum/categories/54-wg-1-cap-development/10174-health-information-on-wikipedia-is-going-from-strength-to-strength-can-we-do-the-same-for-sanitation-together-with-others#10177
I don't see why people would use Wikipedia only for health-related information but not for sanitation-related information? In any case, sanitation should be part of public health information, shouldn't it (most obvious with respect to hand-washing and behavioral aspects).

The main advantages I see for Wikipedia compared to Akvopedia/eCompendium (same thing; Akvopedia was just a 1:1 copy of the compendium), or compared to IWA's Water Wiki pages:
  • Novices, students and the general public are more likely to look on Wikipedia because they don't even know about Akvopedia or eCompendium or SSWM or Water Wiki... The Wikipedia pages could then link them to the other pages, including this forum!
  • There is a potential for many more authors who might edit the Wikipedia pages compared to editing IWA Water Wiki pages or Akvopedia pages (and eCompendium pages are not meant to be edited by "the crowd" if I understand correctly).

I see Wikipedia as THE resource for all knowledge that people are looking for in any field. I can see it from my own behaviour that I always turn to Wikipedia first when I want to know something in a field that I am not familiar with.

That's why I find it so interesting that our health colleagues are finding innovative ways of getting the health related Wikipedia pages better, for example by including the editing of Wikipedia pages in the university courses of medical students (quotes taken from my post above):

we have partnered with the University of California San Francisco College of Medicine in the offering of a 4 week elective to 4th year medical students that involves improving Wikipedia...


and by incentivising academics to write on Wikipedia:

we have begun working with the journals Open Medicine and Journal of Medical Internet Research (JMIR) to have Wikipedia articles formally peer reviewed and published under the authors real names...


To me, this is awesome stuff.

Regards,
Elisabeth]]>
WG 1 (cap. development) Mon, 15 Sep 2014 11:06:17 +0000
Re: Sanitation Product Development for Sub-Saharan Africa - affordable, aspirational latrine products, SaTo (American Standard Brands, USA and Water for People) - by: JKMakowka http://www.forum.susana.org/forum/categories/106-user-interface/10144-sanitation-product-development-for-sub-saharan-africa-affordable-aspirational-latrine-products-sato-american-standard-brands-usa-and-water-for-people#10176 http://www.forum.susana.org/forum/categories/106-user-interface/10144-sanitation-product-development-for-sub-saharan-africa-affordable-aspirational-latrine-products-sato-american-standard-brands-usa-and-water-for-people#10176
Concerning the new system specifically for Africa... I would recommend to more clearly define your potential customers: Africa is huge and there are big differences in what is appropriate for various different population groups and geographic regions. Bangladesh is maybe a too simple case compared to that (lots of water everywhere and almost completely Muslim... very densely populated too).

My suggestion is to concentrate on the peri-urban lower middle-class, especially those that do own a little land so that they are willing to invest in sanitation infrastructure (most other don't and landlords mostly don't bother either).]]>
User interface Mon, 15 Sep 2014 10:43:20 +0000
Re: Health information on Wikipedia is going from strength to strength - can we do the same for sanitation (together with others)? - by: JKMakowka http://www.forum.susana.org/forum/categories/54-wg-1-cap-development/10174-health-information-on-wikipedia-is-going-from-strength-to-strength-can-we-do-the-same-for-sanitation-together-with-others#10175 http://www.forum.susana.org/forum/categories/54-wg-1-cap-development/10174-health-information-on-wikipedia-is-going-from-strength-to-strength-can-we-do-the-same-for-sanitation-together-with-others#10175 WG 1 (cap. development) Mon, 15 Sep 2014 10:25:47 +0000 Health information on Wikipedia is going from strength to strength - can we do the same for sanitation (together with others)? - by: muench http://www.forum.susana.org/forum/categories/54-wg-1-cap-development/10174-health-information-on-wikipedia-is-going-from-strength-to-strength-can-we-do-the-same-for-sanitation-together-with-others#10174 http://www.forum.susana.org/forum/categories/54-wg-1-cap-development/10174-health-information-on-wikipedia-is-going-from-strength-to-strength-can-we-do-the-same-for-sanitation-together-with-others#10174 forum.susana.org/forum/categories/53-fae...2&start=12#10172) I want to ask the question can we use Wikipedia better to spread reliable information about sanitation?

I recently saw this on the HIFA2015 Dgroups and am wondering: can we do something similar for sanitation? How can we access those kinds of funds or volunteers to make a concentrated effort to improve the sanitation information that is on Wikipedia? If we linked ourselves more to the health professionals, can we perhaps jump onto their bandwaggon? I think I want to become a Wikipedian now (new term for me).

Here is the post (emphasis in bold added by me)

+++++++++

From: Neil Pakenham-Walsh, UK <neil.pakenham-walsh@ghi-net.org>
Date: 2014-08-31 10:41 GMT+02:00
Subject: [hifa2015] Health information on Wikipedia is going from strength to strength
To: HIFA2015 - Healthcare Information For All by 2015 < This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it >


Dear HIFA colleagues,

Below are extracts of a blog by HIFA member and wikipedian James Heilman (with thanks to Partnerships in Health Information). For those with immediate web access, the blog is freely available here: www.cilip.org.uk/cilip/blog/5-ways-wikip...nformation-improving

Health information on Wikipedia is going from strength to strength as a result of several collaborations described below. Wikipedia continues to innovate and includes initiatives such as Wikipedia Zero that aim to facilitate access to content for users in low and middle income countries. Congratulations to James and his colleagues at Wikipedia.



Best wishes,

Neil

--

5 ways Wikipedia's health information is improving


With Wikipedia's health care pages receiving nearly 5 billion views in 2013 it is one of the most used global sources of health care information. However its content is not always consistently high quality. Why is this and how can it be improved?...


Another benefit of the Wikipedia model is an effort known as Wikipedia Zero. This is a collaboration with mobile phone companies where customers in the developing world have access to Wikipedia free of data charges...


1. The Cochrane collaboration and Wikipedia began officially working together in 2013. This has involved the hiring of a Wikipedian in Residence by the Collaboration and the making available of 100 free accounts to Wikipedians...


2. While Wikipedia is in 286 languages the amount of medical content available in languages other than English and a few major European languages is limited. To address this we have been working with Translators Without Borders since 2011...


3. We know that one of the major groups of individuals that use Wikipedia's medical content are medical students. Surveys have found that Wikipedia is their single most used medical resource... we have partnered with the University of California San Francisco College of Medicine in the offering of a 4 week elective to 4th year medical students that involves improving Wikipedia...


4. One concern often raised is that editing Wikipedia does not give academics credit to those involved. To address this we have begun working with the journals Open Medicine and Journal of Medical Internet Research (JMIR) to have Wikipedia articles formally peer reviewed and published under the authors real names...


5. ... Wikipedia and the NIH [National Institutes of Health] ... have been working together on creating simple definitions for disease.

--

++++++++++++

And a related post on the same Dgroup:

From: James Heilman, USA
Date: 2014-09-01 15:07 GMT+02:00
Subject: [hifa2015] Wikipedia Working to get Ebola Content into as Many Languages as Possible
To: HIFA2015 - Healthcare Information For All by 2015 < This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it >


We at Wikipedia are busy translating content on Ebola as well as many other key diseases into as many languages as we can find volunteers per here en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:WikiProj...anslation_Task_Force


A list of articles we have already translated are here

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:WikiProj...ation_task_force/RTT(Simplified)

and here

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:WikiProj...ation_task_force/RTT


We have recently added a new collaborator to our efforts, Rubric who have volunteered their expertise and helped us get content into an additional dozen or so African languages.


We are hoping that this is just a start. These languages of Wikipedia do not belong to us from the English speaking world, they belong to the people who speak them. They belong to the people that join and become the communities that run them. We hope that if you know one of these languages that you will join those already involved or help develop a community if one does not already exist. Grassroots efforts to develop healthcare content, through models such as Wikipedia, IMO is the only way we will achieve health care information for all in the language of one's choosing.



--

James Heilman

MD, CCFP-EM, Wikipedian

The Wikipedia Open Textbook of Medicine

www.opentextbookofmedicine.com




HIFA profile: James Heilman is a Wikipedian and works with Wiki Project Med Foundation, a charity whose mission is to make clear, reliable, comprehensive, up-to-date educational resources and information in the biomedical and related social sciences freely available to all people in the language of their choice. He is an Emergency Room Physician in Cranbrook, British Columbia, and a Clinical Instructor at the University of British Columbia.

__________

To send a message to the HIFA forum, simply send an email to: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

We are grateful to The Lancet, Elsevier, mPowering Frontline Health Workers and Intel Corporation for their generous support for the development of the new HIFA Voices database, to be launched in July 2014: www.hifa2015.org/knowledge-base/

HIFA2015: Healthcare Information For All by 2015: www.hifa2015.org

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WG 1 (cap. development) Mon, 15 Sep 2014 09:35:53 +0000