According to the World Health Organization,
about 2.2 million kids under the age of 5 die every year from diarrheal
diseases. The vast majority of these deaths could be prevented with
basic hygiene, water quality improvements and sanitation.
it so hard to fix these problems? In the past, focus has been too
heavily on major infrastructure projects, which have proved
prohibitively expensive for developing countries to build and maintain.
Now innovators are starting to think about simpler, lower-tech
The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
have granted $10.9 million to researchers at the University of
California, Berkeley, to conduct evaluations of several such solutions,
according to a press release.
The interventions they are testing are "combined intervention packages"
that join approaches to sanitation, water and hand-washing together
into single projects.
"Right now, it is unknown whether single
interventions are as cost effective as combinations of these
interventions. This grant will fund the first large-scale, randomized
impact evaluation designed to gather rigorous evidence about this
question," said Dr. Jack Colford, professor of epidemiology at UC
Berkeley's School of Public Health and the project's coordinator.
study will take on its randomized impact evaluation in Bangladesh and
Kenya to uncover whether the results of these packaged small-scale
solutions compare to the traditional large-scale interventions.