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More toilets in India did not improve health, finds study

BMJ 2014; 349 doi: (Published 10 October 2014) Cite this as: BMJ 2014;349:g6169
  1. Zosia Kmietowicz
  1. 1London

Increasing the number of toilets available to people in rural India did not help to reduce exposure to faecal pathogens or decrease diarrhoea, parasitic worm infections, or child malnutrition, a study has found.

Researchers from the United States, the United Kingdom, and India conducted a cluster randomised controlled trial in 100 villages in India to assess the effect of building extra toilets on health. Although systematic reviews have found that improved sanitation can reduce the prevalence of diarrhoeal disease by 22-36%, studies have been small and the evidence of a health impact is “not strong,” the study said.

Around 2.5 billion people worldwide, a third of whom live in India, lack access to basic sanitation facilities (such as a …

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