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Year : 2021  |  Volume : 28  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 103-109

Water and sanitation risk exposure in children under-five in Pakistan

1 Department of Pathways/Economics, University of Essex, Colchester, UK
2 Department of Economics, University of Lahore, Lahore, Pakistan
3 Department of Family and Community Medicine, College of Medicine, Imam Abdulrahman Bin Faisal University (IAU), Dammam, Saudi Arabia
4 Department of Community Medicine, Fatima Jinnah Medical University, Lahore, Pakistan

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Fowad Murtaza
Department of Pathways, University of Essex, Wivenhoe Park, Colchester CO4 3SQ
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/jfcm.jfcm_149_21

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BACKGROUND: Children under-five constitute 11.9% (n = 20,447,628) of the total population of Pakistan. Poor water and sanitation in Pakistan cause 97,900 deaths annually, 54,000 of whom are children under-five. MATERIALS AND METHODS: This study calculates an index for water and sanitation risk for children under-5 in Pakistan to give a detailed understanding and insight into the prevalent risks. Data from Pakistan Integrated Household Survey 2011–12 are used. Stata 15.0 was used for data analysis. A risk index was created by integrating hazard and vulnerability factors including toilet facilities, water source, mother's education, and the number of children in the household. Children were ranked according to their risk score in three categories: low risk, medium risk, and high risk. For each level of risk, profiles of children are created at the national, regional (urban, rural), and provincial levels. RESULTS: Out of 20.5 million children under-five in Pakistan, 71.6% live in rural areas. About 24.9% of children benefit from pipe-borne drinking water; 15.5% of children have toilets connected to the public sewerage system; 62.6% of the children have mothers who had no education; and 50.5% of children live in households with three or more children. It appeared that 57.5% of children are at high risk of poor water and sanitation as compared to merely 1.3% of children at low risk. Around 69.9% of children living in rural areas are at high risk compared to 24.6% of children in urban areas. In Balochistan, 77.9% of children are at high risk, the highest of all provinces. CONCLUSION: The majority of children under-five in Pakistan are at high risk owing to poor water and sanitation. A comprehensive public health program is needed to address the key indicators related to child health risk identified in this research such as safe drinking water, improved sanitation, education and mothers' awareness, and population growth.

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Journal of Family and Community Medicine | Published by Wolters Kluwer - Medknow
Online since 05th September, 2010