The Impact of Improvements in Hygiene on Child Health: Evidence from Mexico
Jorge Aguero, University of California, Riverside
Trinidad Beleche, U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)
Diarrheal diseases and respiratory tract infections are among the top causes of child deaths in developing countries. These diseases can be prevented by the simple act of hand washing. Using hospital discharge data from Mexico, this paper seeks to investigate the effect of improvements in hygiene on health outcomes related to inadequate hygiene. Our identification strategy exploits Mexico’s public health campaign promoting hand washing which occurred in response to the H1N1 influenza outbreak in March and April of 2009. This campaign was at the national level and it involved dissemination of educational messages regarding respiratory hygiene and cough etiquette through mass media, and distribution of masks and hand sanitizers to the public. We expect to observe a decrease in the incidence rate of diseases that can be prevented by the mere act of handwashing.