The Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Global Public Health has moved behind the paywall. For information on how to continue to view articles visit the how to subscribe page.
Dismiss
Show Summary Details

Page of

Printed from Oxford Research Encyclopedias, Global Public Health. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a single article for personal use (for details see Privacy Policy and Legal Notice).

date: 02 February 2023

The Health Impact of Water and Sanitation Utilities Privatization and Regulation in Sub-Saharan Africalocked

The Health Impact of Water and Sanitation Utilities Privatization and Regulation in Sub-Saharan Africalocked

  • Lisa Bagnoli, Lisa BagnoliUniversité Libre de Bruxelles
  • Salvador Bertomeu-SanchezSalvador Bertomeu-SanchezUniversite Libre de Bruxelles Solvay Brussels School of Economics and Management
  •  and Antonio EstacheAntonio EstacheUniversite Libre de Bruxelles Solvay Brussels School of Economics and Management

Summary

As of 2017, the urban access rate to safe water sources in 2017 stood at 84% while rural access was still around 45%. The rates for sanitation were 44% and 22%, respectively. Since the 1980s many high-profile reforms supported by international organizations have been implemented in the region in an attempt to close the access gaps in the water and sanitation sector (WSS). Two recommendations with high international exposure were an increased role for large-scale private sector participation in the management and financing of national or regional utilities and the creation of separate sector regulatory agencies to increase the independence of regulation. Both reforms seemed to contribute to improved water access rates, at least for the urban population, but not enough to catch up with the demands of a fast-growing population; and both failed to deliver on sanitation. The progress these initiatives allowed was correlated with improvements in the average health outcomes for some indicators (i.e., under-five mortality associated to diarrhea) but once again, it was not enough and was not fairly distributed. Indeed, improvements seem to have mostly benefited upper- and middle-income groups. Unfortunately, an evaluation of the health effects of these two reforms have not yet been fully established empirically, which is why it seems prudent to talk about correlations rather than causal effects. Most of the statistically robust evidence on the impact of utilities and regulatory reforms on health is incomplete because details of several dimensions of these reforms and their context are not measured consistently across countries or within countries. In addition, the small amount of econometric evidence available is based on pre-2010 data for SSA. The imperfect data is however solid enough to suggest that without further governance changes in the region, the health risks are likely to increase. This is because due to the high population growth rate of the region, closing the access gaps is likely to get tougher considering current investment levels and technological choices. The necessary changes require improving the match between policy and technological choices, including service delivery technologies that are consistent with the ability to pay and the tariff and subsidy levels adopted to ensure cost recovery without excluding any category of users.

Subjects

  • Public Health Policy and Governance

You do not currently have access to this article

Login

Please login to access the full content.

Subscribe

Access to the full content requires a subscription