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Impact of social capital, harassment of women and girls, and water and sanitation access on premature birth and low infant birth weight in India

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Globally, preterm birth (PTB) and low infant birth weight (LBW) are leading causes of maternal and child morbidity and mortality. Inadequate water and sanitation access (WASH) are risk factors for PTB and LBW in low-income countries. Physical stress from carrying water and psychosocial stress from addressing sanitation needs in the open may be mechanisms underlying these associations. If so, then living in a community with strong social capital should be able to buffer the adverse effects of WASH on birth outcomes. The objective of this study is to assess the relationships between WASH access and social conditions (including harassment and social capital) on PTB and LBW outcomes among Indian women, and to test whether social conditions modified the association between WASH and birth outcomes.

This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

Authors: Baker KK, Story WT, Walser-Kuntz E, Zimmerman MB
Source: PLoS ONE 13(10): e0205345. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0205345

Date: 12 November 2018