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Water Engineering and Development Centre

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Some global statistics for water and sanitation related disease [Reviewed and updated: Lucy Smith, June 2005; Quality Assurance: Sandy Cairncross, LSHTM]

Author(s): Parry-Jones, Sarah  |  Kolsky, Pete  |  Smith, Lucy  |  Cairncross, Sandy

Publisher: WEDC
Place of publication: Loughborough University, UK
Year: 2005

Series: WELL Fact Sheet
Collection(s): WELL


Diarrhoea causes 2.5 million deaths/year, accounting for around 21% of all-cause mortality for children under five years old in developing countries (Kosek, 2003). This is equivalent to one child dying every twelve seconds, or a jumbo jet full of children crashing every 90 minutes.

In addition, diarrhoea accounts for the annual loss of around 62 million DALYs (disability-adjusted life years), a standard measure of the burden of disease calculated from the number of years of productive life lost due to illness and premature mortality (WHO, 2004); this figure provides an indication of the substantial socio-economic impacts of diarrhoeal diseases through loss of work, disrupted school attendance and medical costs. To put it into perspective, malaria leads to a loss of 47 million DALYs and tuberculosis 35 million DALYs per year (WHO, 2004).

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