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Water and sanitation 

Water and sanitation
Chapter:
Water and sanitation
Author(s):

Thomas Clasen

and Steven Sugden

DOI:
10.1093/med/9780199218707.003.0009
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date: 15 December 2019

The lack of safe drinking water and basic sanitation impose a heavy health burden, especially on young children and the poor; it also aggravates poverty, poor school attendance, and overall development. Unlike many of the other challenges in public health, the water and sanitation solutions are well-known. However, despite strong evidence of the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of improved water and sanitation against diarrhoea and certain other diseases and support for the intervention at the highest international levels, coverage still lags behind the MDG targets, especially for sanitation. This chapter describes the aetiological agents of the leading water- and sanitation-related diseases, presents the evidence concerning the effectiveness of water and sanitation interventions to prevent such diseases, and summarizes the economic implications of such interventions and some of the other non-health benefits associated therewith. Recent and emerging developments in water, sanitation, and health are discussed, including new methods for assessing and measuring the risks associated with unsafe water and sanitation, technologies, programmatic approaches, and implementation strategies. The chapter closes with a discussion of some of the continuing challenges in water and sanitation, including efforts to scale up interventions among the most vulnerable populations in an effort to secure the benefits of water and sanitation for all.

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