The impact of safe sanitation facilities in reducing the prevalence of waterborne diseases in rural Bangladesh
Access to safe water and facilities has been identified as an important contributing factor in reducing risks to public health. Several articles have been written indicating (both qualitatively and quantitatively) the effects of improvements of water and sanitation on prevalence of waterborne diseases. Most of these studies either looked at the combined effect of both these environmental health factors or do not quantify the effects of improvements in access to safe sanitation facilities on the chances of becoming sick from waterborne diseases by controlling for other economic, demographic, or environmental health factors. The purpose of this study is to specifically assess the decrease in the chances of becoming sick from waterborne diseases as a result of gaining access to safe sanitation facilities in rural Bangladesh. It was concluded that improvements in safe sanitation reduce the chances of becoming sick from waterborne diseases by 2.2 per cent, although, it is possible that this figure is an underestimate due to the negative externalities associated with unhygienic sanitation practices. It was also found in the study that however gradual improvements in sanitation facilities to a level that is not deemed safe do not have any positive effect on the prevalence of waterborne diseases; thus, significant health benefits can only be attained if households switch to safe sanitation facilities.