Water Resources Management and Well-Being in Peru: Health Outcomes of Children Under Five Years of Age from 2008 to 2012
It is widely held that improved water and sanitation services reduce the incidence of sickness related to the consumption of unsafe water and usage of unsanitary facilities. Although government investment in certain types of infrastructure may help to reduce water-borne diseases and promote healthier communities, the management of these facilities and resources also plays an important role. This paper uses nationally representative household survey data obtained from the Demographic and Health Surveys (DHS) Program to test the hypothesis that the transition from centralized water resources management to integrated water resources management (IWRM) in Peru between 2008 and 2012 is directly associated with improvements in health outcomes of children under five years of age. The passage of the Ley de Recursos Hídricos or Water Resources Law in 2009, which established decentralized local water governing authorities, marked Peru’s transition to a cross-sector water management system that is intended to allow for increased participation and coordination from stakeholders at all levels. The results presented by this study do not demonstrate that there was a significant relationship between the transition to IWRM and improved health outcomes in terms of diarrhea incidence. Further research is necessary to better understand the relationship between the management of water resources and public health. This research is important because it could inform the way that governments in developing countries invest or allocate their resources to improve the lives of citizens.
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