The purpose of the PFM Tool is to evaluate areas with high emissions of pathogens to surface waters and evaluate the potential impact of changes in population growth, access to improved sanitation facilities, and increased conveyance and treatment of wastewater and fecal sludge.
A model that simulates these emissions drives the tool. The model uses input data on population, urbanization, disease incidence and pathogen shedding rates, sanitation technologies, and the treatment of wastewater and fecal sludge. The current global input data for the default run of the tool are described on the tool website and come from sources that are available online, such as the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs, and the Joint Monitoring Program of the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations’ Children’s Fund (UNICEF). Users of the tool are able to select their geographic area of interest, and develop up to three alternative scenarios that can be compared to the baseline. These scenarios can include population changes, interventions, such as eradicating open defecation, emptying and treating more waste from onsite systems, or improving the treatment of wastewater and fecal sludge. The tool produces visualizations that help a user assess the relative differences between scenarios to support decision-making.