Determinants of the prevalence of diarrhoea in adolescents attending school: A case study of an Indian village school

Ramani, Shyama V. et al
UNU-MERIT Working Papers

In developing countries, including India, diarrhoea is a leading killer throughout the age pyramid. However, most of the medical literature on the determinants of diarrhoea focuses only on young children or the elderly, with health policy mainly targeting the former. Thus, the present article attempts to contribute to a better understanding of the determinants of diarrhoea in adolescents – the understudied population. The paper develops a model using the medical literature, refines it to fit an Indian village context and tests the hypotheses identified through administering a questionnaire to 114 adolescents in an Indian village school. Results confirm the well known importance of household sanitation. In addition, the contribution of the present study is to assert that access to school toilets and usage of school toilets are also crucial. Furthermore, usage of toilets at school varies as a function of gender and the existence of a toilet in the student’s household. Finally, the installation of toilets in schools is not enough, sustainable financial models must be found to maintain toilets and induce students to use them.