Water privatization, water source, and pediatric diarrhea in Bolivia: Epidemiologic analysis of a social experiment

Jeffrey A. Tornheim, Kimberly B. Morland, Philip J. Landrigan, Enrique Cifuentes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Water and sanitation services are fundamental to the prevention of pediatric diarrhea. To enhance both access to water and investment, some argue for the privatization of municipal water networks. Water networks in multiple Bolivian cities were privatized in the 1990s, but contracts ended following popular protests citing poor access. A population-based retrospective cohort study was conducted in two Bolivian cities. Data were collected on family water utilization and sanitation practices and on the prevalence of diarrhea among 596 children. Drinking from an outdoor water source (OR, 2.08; 95%CI, 1.25-3.44) and shorter in-home water boiling times (OR, 1.99; 95%CI, 1.19-3.34) were associated with prevalence of diarrhea. Increased prevalence was also observed for children from families using private versus public water services, using off-network water from cistern trucks, or not treating their water in-home. Results suggest that water source, water provider, and in-home water treatment are important predictors of pediatric diarrhea.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)241-248
Number of pages8
JournalInternational Journal of Occupational and Environmental Health
Volume15
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2009
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Bolivia
  • Diarrhea
  • Environmental health
  • Policy
  • Water

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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