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Food and water security and governance

Shannon Majowicz with students

Shannon Majowicz (centre) joins Waterloo from the Public Health Agency of Canada, specializing in the early detection of outbreaks of food and water borne diseases.

Today almost 1.1 billion people worldwide live without safe water and more than twice that number – 40% of the world’s population – lack access to
adequate sanitation. Globally, 1.5 million children die annually as a result
– one of the most pervasive and preventable causes of child mortality.

A recent report by the World Health Organization estimates almost 10% of the global burden of
illness is related to water, through contaminated water, inadequate
sanitation and hygiene, and poor water management. Further, substantial
literature makes the direct link between safe water and adequate sanitation on the one hand and poverty on the other. Opportunity costs associated with obtaining water, caring for sick loved ones, and lack of school  attendance result in lost economic development.

Research in action

Shannon Majowicz is an epidemiologist with a decade of public health work experience whose research on food and water borne diseases helps prevent these diseases in Canadian populations.

Rhona Hanning is a nutritionist who creates assessment and intervention tools, policies and programs which improve diet and enhance food security for children, and members of Canada’s First Nations

Susan Elliott is a medical geographer whose research improves community access to clean water, and our understanding of food allergies.

One in five people on the planet do not have safe water to drink. One in seven are undernourished.

United Nations World Water Development Report

United Nations Food and Agriculture Agency, 2011