Evaluation of a water, sanitation, and hygiene education intervention on diarrhoea in northern Pakistan

Document Type



Community Health Sciences


Objective: Inadequate water and sanitation services adversely affect the health and socioeconomic development of communities. The Water and Sanitation Extension Programme (WASEP) project, undertaken in selected villages in northern Pakistan between 1997 and 2001, was designed to deliver an integrated package of activities to improve potable water supply at village and household levels, sanitation facilities and their use, and awareness and practices about hygiene behaviour.Methods: A case-control study was conducted during July-September 2001 to evaluate whether, after selected confounders were controlled for, children aged <6 years with diarrhoea were more or less likely to reside in villages that participated in the project than in villages that did not participate. Descriptive and logistic regression analyses were performed.FINDINGS: Children not living in WASEP villages had a 33% higher adjusted odds ratio for having diarrhoea than children living in WASEP villages (adjusted odds ratio, 1.331; P<0.049). Boys had 25% lower odds of having diarrhoea than girls (adjusted odds ratio, 0.748; P<0.049). A 2.6% decrease was found in the odds of diarrhoea for every yearly increase in the mother's age (adjusted odds ratio, 0.974; P<0.044) and a 1.4% decrease for every monthly increase in the child's age (adjusted odds ratio, 0.986; P<0.001).CONCLUSIONS: The findings in this study may help refine the approach to future water, sanitation, and hygiene initiatives in northern Pakistan. The integrated approach taken by WASEP, which incorporates engineering solutions with appropriate education to maximize facility usage and improve hygiene practices, is a useful example of how desired health benefits can be obtained from projects of this type.


Bulletin of the World Health Organization