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Community-Level Sanitation Coverage More Strongly Associated with Child Growth and Household Drinking Water Quality than Access to a Private Toilet in Rural Mali

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This article is an overview of a study that investigated the effect of community sanitation coverage versus individual household sanitation access on child health and drinking water quality. Using a census of 121 villages in rural Mali, the research team analysed the association of community latrine coverage (defined by a 200 meter radius surrounding a household) and individual household latrine ownership with child growth and household stored water quality. Child height-for-age had a significant and positive linear relationship with community latrine coverage, while child weight-for-age and household water quality had nonlinear relationships that levelled off above 60 per cent coverage. Child growth and water quality were not associated with individual household latrine ownership. The relationship between community latrine coverage and child height was strongest among households without a latrine; for these households, each ten per cent increase in latrine coverage was associated with a 0.031 increase in height-for-age-score. In this study, the level of sanitation access of surrounding households was more important than private latrine access for protecting water quality and child health.

Date: 11 July 2018