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Water access and sanitation shape birth outcomes and earning potential

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This blog post provides an accessible overview of the recently published study, 'Impact of social capital, harassment of women and girls, and water and sanitation access on premature birth and low infant birth weight in India.' It draws on the report along with interviews with the authors.

The key points:

  •     Spending more time per day fetching water increased Indian women’s risk of delivering a low birth weight baby.
  •     Open defecation and using a shared latrine within a woman’s building or compound were also associated with higher odds of low birth weight and pre-term births, respectively, compared to having a private household toilet.
  •     The researchers believe that improving water, sanitation and health access and/or reducing gender-based harassment could reduce these adverse birth outcomes.
  •     Another study pointed out that enhanced access to a reliable and proximate water supply reduced the time spent by women in collecting water and the proportion of hard labour performed by women. In addition, this time saved could be spent on other income generating activities.

Photo: ‘Morning Chores’ by Manish Bansal
Creative Commons License

Date: 12 November 2018
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