Bloomberg News

Toilet Shortfall Causing Diarrhea Costs Bangladesh $4.2 Billion

October 06, 2011

Oct. 7 (Bloomberg) -- A toilet shortfall in Bangladesh that enables diarrheal and other disease-causing germs to spread costs the nation about $4.2 billion annually, a study found.

Economic losses tied to inadequate sanitation amounted to 6.3 percent of Bangladesh’s gross domestic product in 2007, highlighting an urgent need to invest in better hygiene, a report by the World Bank’s Water and Sanitation Program said.

Premature death and the ill effects of poor sanitation contributed 84 percent of the total cost. Children under 5 years suffer the most, accounting for 95 percent of the premature deaths, the Washington-based bank said in e-mail yesterday.

“The total amount of these losses is five times higher than the national health budget and three times higher than the national education budget in 2007,” the report said. Efforts to improve sanitation could yield about $2.26 billion in economic gains, it said.

Diarrhea results in the biggest health-related economic impact from poor sanitation, accounting for two-thirds of the total cost, the report said. Acute lower respiratory infections account for about 15 percent.

--Daryl Loo. Editors: Jason Gale, Terje Langeland

To contact Bloomberg News staff for this story: Daryl Loo in Beijing at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Jason Gale at

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