Setting Priorities, Targeting Subsidies among Water, Sanitation, and Preventive Health Interventions in Developing Countries

The paper challenges the conventional wisdom that water and sanitation improvements and other preventive health interventions are always a wise economic investment. Costs and benefits are presented for six water, sanitation, and health pro-grams—handwashing, sanitation, point-of-use filtration and chlorination, insecticide-treated bed nets, and cholera vaccination. Model parameters are specified for a range of conditions that are plausible for locations in developing countries.

We find that the parameter values needed for such cost–benefit calculations are not available for setting global priorities. We reflect on the implications of our findings for more “evidence-based” planning of public health and development interventions.

Published in Word Development (2012)



Economy and Environment Program for Southeast Asia