Impact of Environmental Quality on Health Status: A Study of 12 Southern African Development Community (SADC) Countries between 2000 and 2008
This paper used two panel data models estimated by the random effects and fixed effects approach to establish the impact of environmental quality on health status in 12 SADC countries between 2000 and 2008. Proxies of environmental quality used in the paper are carbon emissions, access of people to improved water sources and improved sanitary facilities. Health status was measured by infant mortality rate. Environmental factors are found to account for about 38 percent of mortality in the region. The paper concluded that carbon emissions do not have an impact on health status of SADC countries. Access to improved water sources and sanitary facilities are found to have a greater impact on infant mortality than socioeconomic variables. The study also reports that there is significant difference in infant mortality rates between countries with environmental laws and where there are none. We conclude that it is important for SADC countries to strengthen environmental regulations meant to improve people’s access to quality water and sanitary facilities among improved income, health expenditure and politically stable environment in efforts aimed to improve health status.
Keywords: Environmental Quality, Health status, SADC, Fixed Effects, Random Effects. JEL Classification: I13, Q53, Q56