Every year, 2.2 million people die from diarrheal diseases, a leading cause of which is unhygienic water and sanitation. The outstanding question is not whether water and sanitation prevent diarrheal diseases in a biomedical sense, but what interventions are appropriate and effective in settings in which piped water and sanitation are unavailable because of their expense. This article critically reviews the evidence on health and nonhealth benefits of water and sanitation investments that are common in developing countries. It further explores evidence on valuation for these interventions and discusses the implications of the evidence on valuation for government policy to support improvements in this sector.
Encyclopedia of Health Economics, 2014, Pages 477-482,