Water system unreliability and diarrhea incidence among children in Guatemala

  • Jennifer Trudeau
  • Anna-Maria Aksan
  • William F. Vásquez
Original Article

Abstract

Objectives

This article examines the effect of water system unreliability on diarrhea incidence among children aged 0–5 in Guatemala.

Methods

We use secondary data from a nationally representative sample of 7579 children to estimate the effects of uninterrupted and interrupted water services on diarrhea incidence. The national scope of this study imposes some methodological challenges due to unobserved geographical heterogeneity. To address this issue, we estimate mixed-effects logit models that control for unobserved heterogeneity by estimating random effects of selected covariates that can vary across geographical areas (i.e. water system reliability).

Results

Compared to children without access to piped water, children with uninterrupted water services have a lower probability of diarrhea incidence by approximately 33 percentage points. Conversely, there is no differential effect between children without access and those with at least one day of service interruptions in the previous month. Results also confirm negative effects of age, female gender, spanish language, and garbage disposal on diarrhea incidence.

Conclusions

Public health benefits of piped water are realized through uninterrupted provision of service, not merely access. Policy implications are discussed.

Keywords

Guatemala Diarrheal incidence Morbidity Tap water Service interruptions 

Notes

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

We certify that there is no external funding for this research nor does any participant benefit from the results of the study.

Research involving human participants and/or animals

Our research utilizes secondary data that was previously collected in Guatemala.

Informed consent

Our research utilizes secondary data and thus does not require informed consent.

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Copyright information

© Swiss School of Public Health (SSPH+) 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jennifer Trudeau
    • 1
  • Anna-Maria Aksan
    • 2
  • William F. Vásquez
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Business EconomicsSacred Heart UniversityFairfieldUSA
  2. 2.Department of EconomicsFairfield UniversityFairfieldUSA

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