Temperature and Risk of Diarrhoea among Children in Sub-Saharan Africa

Matthias Flückiger, Markus Ludwig

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We assess the effects of temperature on the risk of diarrhoea, one of the leading causes of mortality and morbidity among children under 5. Our analysis focuses on Sub-Saharan Africa, the continent where temperatures have been rising at twice the global rate and diarrhoea prevalence rates are highest. Drawing on child-level survey data and exploiting quasi-random variation in temperature realisations around the date of interview, we show that temperature strongly influences diarrhoea incidence as well as prevalence of wasting (low weight-for-height ratios). Using binned regressions, we document that the effects are particularly strong in the temperature range 30--37.5 degrees C. We further find that access to improved sanitation and drinking water facilities mitigates these temperature-induces risks. This implies that building up such capacities is a particularly pressing issue in regions that will experience strong increases in temperatures and lack adequate access to sanitation and safe water. We use our estimates together with climate projections to identify these areas
Original languageEnglish
Article number106070
Number of pages14
JournalWorld Development
Early online date18 Aug 2022
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2022

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