Municipal water in South Africa : the relationship between access, quality and childhood diarrhoea.
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Access to drinking water is a basic human right. Water is also a vehicle for the transmission of a number of communicable diseases. To reduce the risk of disease, water accessed must also be of a good quality, from a reliable source and within close proximity to one's residence. This dissertation examines the relationship between water access, water quality, and child health as measured through the incidence of childhood diarrhoeal disease. Two sets of analyses are conducted using General Household Survey data supplied by Statistics South Africa. The first component uses bivariate analysis to explore changes in water access and water quality between 2006 and 2011 in relation to various water-related characteristics. The second component uses the 2011 data in multivariate probit models to predict the probability of childhood diarrhoeal disease. Findings of the study suggest that the source of piped water access and the self-reported quality of municipal water are not significant predictors of child health. Instead, the household’s treatment of water accessed is significantly associated with a lower probability of diarrhoeal disease. This finding suggests that interventions to improve end-use treatment of drinking water may be effective in reducing the burden of childhood disease.