Sanitation has great value for lowering child mortality

Harold Mandel's picture
A germ

According to researchers the value of sanitation for lowering child mortality in many low income countries has been widely underestimated.

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When we give consideration to child mortality we generally consider how important good nutrition and vaccines for infectious diseases are. The vital significance of sanitation is often overlooked.

The University of East Anglia has reported the vital significance of universal sanitation has been underestimated. There appears to be substantially more value of sanitation for decreasing child mortality in many low income countries than is generally recognized.

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One of the most vital public health advances of these times has been the provision of sanitation

Professor Paul Hunter from the University of East Anglia (UEA) and Dr Annette Prüss-Ustün from The World Health Organization have concluded from a study that the essential health benefits of access to sanitation facilities such as latrines will only be realized once a certain level of coverage across a community has been achieved. Hunter says one of the most vital public health advances of these times has been the provision of sanitation. In fact the provision of sanitation has become a primary objective in the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

Sanitation seems to be one of the most effective ways to lower childhood mortality

Hunter has also said that improving sanitation seems to be one of the most effective ways to lower childhood mortality due to conditions such as diarrhea. The researchers noted that coverage with sanitation was very strongly associated with decreases in death rates. Improved sanitation seems to protect the community, not simply the individual user.

This study has been published in the journal PLOS ONE. Although sanitation has been widely accepted as being one of the most signficant public health advances of the past hundred years, the contribution which improving sanitation coverage can have in regard to child health has not been clear. It appears the most benefits for child mortality from sanitation will be seen as sanitation becomes universal in nature.

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