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Simple Upgrades In Rural Sanitation Could Save 1.2 Million Lives Annually

Date:
March 12, 2009
Source:
American Chemical Society
Summary:
Improving rural sanitation by 65 percent could save as many as 1.2 million lives a year worldwide, scientists in Pennsylvania conclude in a new study on diarrheal disease. Their report found that developing countries in Africa and Asia would experience the greatest savings in life.

Improving rural sanitation by 65 percent could save as many as 1.2 million lives a year worldwide, scientists in Pennsylvania conclude in a new study on diarrheal disease. Their report, in the current edition of ACS' semi-monthly journal Environmental Science & Technology, found that developing countries in Africa and Asia would experience the greatest savings in life.

In the study, Sean T. Green and colleagues note that diarrhea causes 2.2 million deaths a year worldwide. It is the third leading cause of childhood mortality after neonatal disorders and respiratory infections. Many previous studies have tried to identify the factors that contribute to child mortality. Only a few, however, have evaluated the factors contributing to diarrheal disease at a national level, leaving a major information gap on the topic.

The researchers developed a new computer model for that purpose using an artificial intelligence technique called Classification and Regression Trees. They used it to predict diarrheal illness nationally, based on data from 192 countries. Using the model, the scientists identified improvements in rural sanitation — such as providing safe disposal of feces —as the measure in their study with the single greatest impact in reducing deaths from diarrheal disease.

"The most important variable for reducing diarrheal illness in the worst afflicted countries is rural sanitation, a message that can be obscured with a 'one size fits all' linear regression model" like those used in the past, the researchers said.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by American Chemical Society. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Green et al. Determinants of National Diarrheal Disease Burden. Environmental Science & Technology, 2009; 0 (0): 090122143703088 DOI: 10.1021/es8023226

Cite This Page:

American Chemical Society. "Simple Upgrades In Rural Sanitation Could Save 1.2 Million Lives Annually." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 12 March 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/03/090309223207.htm>.
American Chemical Society. (2009, March 12). Simple Upgrades In Rural Sanitation Could Save 1.2 Million Lives Annually. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 29, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/03/090309223207.htm
American Chemical Society. "Simple Upgrades In Rural Sanitation Could Save 1.2 Million Lives Annually." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/03/090309223207.htm (accessed July 29, 2014).

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