Estimating the burden of disease attributable to unsafe water and lack of sanitation and hygiene in South Africa in 2000
Objectives. To estimate the burden of disease attributable to unsafe water, sanitation and hygiene (WSH) by age group for South Africa in 2000.
Design. World Health Organization comparative risk assessment methodology was used to estimate the disease burden attributable to an exposure by comparing the observed risk factor distribution with a theoretical lowest possible population distribution. A scenario-based approach was applied for estimating diarrhoeal disease burden from unsafe WSH. Six exposure scenarios were defined based on the type of water and sanitation infrastructure and environmental faecal-oral pathogen load. For 'intestinal parasites' and schistosomiasis, the burden was assumed to be 100% attributable to exposure to unsafe WSH.
Setting. South Africa.
Outcome measures. Disease burden from diarrhoeal diseases, intestinal parasites and schistosomiasis, measured by deaths and disability-adjusted life years (DALYs).
Results. 13 434 deaths were attributable to unsafe WSH accounting for 2.6% (95% uncertainty interval 2.4 - 2.7%) of all deaths in South Africa in 2000. The burden was especially high in children under 5 years, accounting for 9.3% of total deaths in this age group and 7.4% of burden of disease. Overall, the burden due to unsafe WSH was equivalent to 2.6% (95% uncertainty interval 2.5 - 2.7%) of the total disease burden for South Africa, ranking this risk factor seventh for the country.
Conclusions. Unsafe WSH remains an important risk factor for disease in South Africa, especially in children under 5. High priority needs to be given to the provision of safe and sustainable sanitation and water facilities and to promoting safe hygiene behaviours, particularly among children.
Copyright remains in the Author’s name. The work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution - Noncommercial Works License. Authors are required to complete and sign an Author Agreement form that outlines Author and Publisher rights and terms of publication. The Agreement form should be uploaded along with other submissions files and any submission will be considered incomplete without it [forthcoming].
Material submitted for publication in the SAMJ is accepted provided it has not been published or submitted for publication elsewhere. Please inform the editorial team if the main findings of your paper have been presented at a conference and published in abstract form, to avoid copyright infringement. The SAMJ does not hold itself responsible for statements made by the authors.
Previously published images
If an image/figure has been previously published, permission to reproduce or alter it must be obtained by the authors from the original publisher and the figure legend must give full credit to the original source. This credit should be accompanied by a letter indicating that permission to reproduce the image has been granted to the author/s. This letter should be uploaded as a supplementary file during submission.