Cost-Effective Prevention of Diarrheal Diseases: A Critical Review - Working Paper 117

Diarrheal diseases kill two million children a year in poor countries. Studies have shown that vaccination, oral rehydration therapy, breastfeeding, and micronutrient supplementation have been effective in saving lives but the continuing toll of diarrhea makes it clear that further investments are needed. Yet scant evidence exists on the impact and cost effectiveness of various environmental health interventions that might complement existing child health programs.

In this CGD working paper, non-resident fellow Michael Kremer and his co-author critically review the existing research on the cost-effective prevention and treatment of diarrheal diseases, and identify research priorities aimed at finding ways to reduce the diarrheal disease burden. They recommend an agenda for future research that includes:

  • evaluating alternative transmission interruption mechanisms,
  • improving understanding of the determinants of individual-level technology adoption in the water and sanitation sector,
  • and assessing the quality of infrastructure maintenance under different management schemes.

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