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India

Jal Jeevan Mission can prevent 1.36 lakh under-5 child deaths per year: Nobel laureate’s paper

New Delhi, October 11: Around 1.36 lakh under-five child deaths per year would be prevented if the Jal Jeevan Mission, which aims to provide safe and adequate drinking water tap connections to rural India by 2024, succeeds, according to a paper co-authored by Nobel laureate Michael Kramer.
The paper published by the University of Chicago said this will, however, require that water delivered through Jal Jeevan Mission is free from microbiological contamination.
A recent meta-analysis of 15 randomized controlled trials conducted by Kramer suggests that the expected reduction in all-cause under-five mortality from water treatment is around one in four.
“This meta-analysis also suggests that water treatment is among the most cost-effective ways to reduce child mortality. Providing piped water is an important step towards improving water quality. However, it is critical that it be free of microbial contamination,” it said.
“Even in cases where water is treated at a central location, negative pressure in pipes can cause contamination. For example, a 2019 study in Maharashtra found high rates (37 per cent) of E coli contamination in piped water samples,” the paper said.
Cost-effectiveness analysis by Kramer also suggests that water treatment is among the most cost-effective ways to reduce child mortality. This implies that efforts to reach as many people as possible with safe water are likely to have very large net benefits, the paper said.
“The Jal Jeevan Mission’s ambition to bring safe drinking water to all rural homes is therefore likely to be highly valuable, preventing around 1,36,000 under-five child deaths annually. We hope to work with the ministry and assist in this effort by testing possible solutions to water quality treatment such as rechlorination,” the paper said. (PTI)

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