Investigating important interactions between water and food security for child health in Burkina Faso
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Failures in either water systems or food systems, or a combination of system failures, could provide the underlying explanation for continued high levels of malnutrition in many regions. We focus on child health and offer the first spatially explicit analysis of the interaction between water source and food insecurity on children’s health in Burkina Faso, an African nation that continues to struggle with poor children’s health. We combine data from the 2010 Demographic and Health Survey, a small USAID water quality survey collected from community wells, and remotely sensed imagery. Results suggest that, in a few cases, reliable and clean water sources are positively correlated to children’s linear growth and weight gain, although in many regions, the interaction with community-level food production is critical to understanding health outcomes. The results also suggest that maternal health and nutrition during pregnancy and breastfeeding are foundational to the healthy development of young children. In all, the findings provide evidence of the importance of multi-sectoral interventions targeted at improving children’s health.