Empirical evidence of the effect of sanitation policies on health indicators for Brazilian municipalities

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This paper investigates the effects of sanitation policies on health indicators in a panel of Brazilian municipalities. Specifically, we use DataSUS, the IBGE, and the SNIS to assess whether the indicators of sanitation affect the health indicators of mortality and morbidity by age group and by different diseases in the municipalities from 2001 to 2008. We work with different samples due to an unbalanced panel because there are missing data on sanitation in smaller municipalities and for lower income people. The results show that we cannot ignore the importance of sanitation. Our results indicate that for the entire sample, a 1% reduction in the incidence of total coliform implies a decline of 0.12 deaths for children under one year of age, including the neonatal period, for every thousand live births. Regarding hospitalization due to illness, only improvement in access to water and a reduction in total coliforms seem to reduce hospitalization for dysentery (for access to water) and hepatitis and tuberculosis (for total coliforms). Access to sewage services seems to reduce the mortality of children up to four years of age and hospitalizations of children aged five to nine years in poor municipalities. Finally, access to water and sewers appears to reduce hospitalizations due to dysentery and hepatitis in municipalities with an income above the median in Brazil.

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