Impact of water, sanitation, and hygiene interventions on improving health outcomes among school children

J Environ Public Health. 2013;2013:984626. doi: 10.1155/2013/984626. Epub 2013 Dec 28.


Purpose: This review was done to explore the impact of water treatment, hygiene, and sanitary interventions on improving child health outcomes such as absenteeism, infections, knowledge, attitudes, and practices and adoption of point-of-use water treatment.

Methods: A literature search was conducted using the databases PubMed and Google scholar for studies published between 2009 and 2012 and focusing on the effects of access to safe water, hand washing facilities, and hygiene education among school-age children. Studies included were those that documented the provision of water and sanitation in schools for children less than 18 years of age, interventions which assessed WASH practices, and English-language, full-text peer reviewed papers.

Results: Fifteen studies were included in the final analysis. 73% (n = 11) of the studies were conducted in developing countries and were rural based (53%, n = 8). The child's age, gender, grade level, socioeconomic index, access to hygiene and sanitary facilities, and prior knowledge of hygiene practices were significantly associated with the outcomes. Nutrition practices which are key factors associated with the outcomes were rarely assessed.

Conclusion: Further research is required to assess the long-term impact of such interventions in different settings.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Child Welfare*
  • Developing Countries*
  • Humans
  • Hygiene*
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic
  • Rural Health
  • Sanitation*
  • Schools
  • Water Purification*