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Water and sanitation 

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

Thomas Clasen

DOI:
10.1093/med/9780199661756.003.0011
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date: 15 September 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 malnutrition, physical and cognitive development, school absenteeism, poverty, and economic development. Unlike many of the other challenges in public health, 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 other diseases and support for the intervention at the highest levels, coverage still lags behind international 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. 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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