Have we substantially underestimated the impact of improved sanitation coverage on child health? A generalized additive model panel analysis of global data on child mortality and malnutrition

Although widely accepted as being one of the most important public health advances of the past hundred years, the contribution that improving sanitation coverage can make to child health is still unclear, especially since the publication of two large studies of sanitation in India which found no effect on child morbidity. We hypothesis that the value of sanitation does not come directly from use of improved sanitation but from improving community coverage. If this is so we further hypothesise that the relationship between sanitation coverage and child health will be non-linear and that most of any health improvement will accrue as sanitation becomes universal.

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