PUBLIC HEALTH

The socioeconomics of good sanitation

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Science  19 Dec 2014:
Vol. 346, Issue 6216, pp. 1477
DOI: 10.1126/science.346.6216.1477-h

Diarrheal diseases caused by poor sanitary conditions are a leading cause of childhood mortality worldwide. In Sub-Saharan Africa, improved sanitation has been particularly difficult to implement in rural areas, where the cost to install a latrine toilet is nearly $190. In a survey of 2000 rural households in Benin, where nearly 95% of the country lacks access to proper sanitation, Gross and Günther found that as much as 50% of the country could have access to latrines if their cost could be reduced to $50 each. However, the survey also found that cost is not the only socioeconomic factor contributing to poor sanitation, and that sanitation promotion programs should focus on the health security and protection provided by latrines as further reasons to install them.

Water Resourc. Res. 50, 8314 (2014).

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