Hygienic Latrine Use and Child Wasting in Urban Bangladesh


  • Alison Buttenheim


Inadequate sanitation is a persistent threat to child health, particularly in urban slums in developing countries. In this study I evaluate a sanitation improvement initiative in fourteen slum communities in Dinajpur, Bangladesh. I estimate the effects of changing from unhygienic to hygienic latrines on child weight-for-height, an important measure of short-term nutritional status. I also test whether these effects are moderated by care behaviors including adult handwashing and breastfeeding, and by household food security. Fixed-effects methods are used to address selection bias in the placement and adoption of improved latrines. Results suggest that the prevalence of improved latrines at the community level is a stronger predictor of child weight-for-height than household-specific latrine use, net of changes in household food security and hygiene behaviors. These results can inform the targeting and implementation strategies of slum upgradation projects in similar settings.


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