Governmental measures aiming at social protection, with components of disease control, have potential positive impacts in the nutritional and health outcomes of the beneficiaries. The concomitant presence of these measures with environmental sanitation interventions may increase their positive effect. The context of simultaneous improvement of social protection and environmental sanitation is found in Brazil since 2007 and an assessment of the combined effects of both programs has not been performed so far.
To evaluate whether interaction effects between improvement of access to water, sanitation and solid waste collection with the Bolsa Família Program [PBF] were related to better responses in the reduction of morbidity due to diarrhea and malnutrition in children less than five years of age, acknowledging the positive results of these improved conditions and the PBF separately in coping with these diseases.
Descriptive and inferential analyses were performed through Generalized Linear Models of the Negative Binomial type of fixed effects, with and without addition of zeros. Interaction models were inserted in order to evaluate the outcomes when the two public policies of interest in the current study were present simultaneously in the municipalities.
Interaction with negative effect when a concomitantly high municipal coverage of the Bolsa Família Program and adequate access to sanitation and solid waste collection were present. In contrast, regardless of municipal coverage by the PBF, the simultaneous presence of water and sanitation (0.028% / 0.019%); water and solid waste collection (0.033% / 0.014%); sanitation and solid waste collection (0.018% / 0.021%), all resulted in a positive effect, with a decrease in the average morbidity rates for both diseases.
Investments aimed at universalizing water, sanitation and solid waste collection services should be priorities, aiming at reducing the incidence of morbidity due to malnutrition and diarrhea and preventing deaths from these poverty-related diseases.