Programme  OS6f The human dimension of water management  abstract 851

Economic costs on health related to water: Mexico case

Author(s): Boris Marañón-Pimentel
Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México. Instituto de Investigaciones Económicas- UNAM, D-218, 2do. Piso. Circuito Maestro Mario de la Cueva s/n, Ciudad de la Investigación en Humanidades. Ciudad Universitaria, C.P. 04510; México. Fax number de fax: 52- 55-56230128 Telephone number: -52-55-56242440 Correo electrónico:

Keyword(s): water, health costs, diarrhoeic diseases, social rigth

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Session: OS6f The human dimension of water management

This communication presents the main results of an investigation

made in Mexico on the magnitude of the economic costs on health relative to the deficient service of drinking


The methodology considers the case of the diarrhoeic diseases, which are related to deficient services

of potable water, according to the World Health Organization. In Mexico , the diarrhoeic diseases are the third

factor of general morbidity, and they occupy a smaller importance as mortality cause. The study rises a critic to the

production of statistical epidemiology, specially in relation to the under registry, that reaches an important magnitude.

Soon it passes to the analysis of the diarrhoeas, taking like representative category the one of “Other intestinal

infectious diseases and), since it explains more than the four fifth parts of the total of annual cases. A characterization

of the diarrhoeas is made according to distribution by ages, geographic and institution of treatment.

The study

reveals that the economic dimension of this problem has not been dealed with systematic way in Mexico. Few

investigations exist on the matter and all of them have been made with different intentions, covers (national, regional,

local or study of case), types of costs (direct, indirect), types of patients, methods of investigation of costs; types of

hospitable institutions of treatment; therefore, the results of the considered costs are not comparable. At the same

time, no of them has made a systematic critic to the problem of the under registration (subregistro) of the cases of

patients affected by diarrhoeas.

In this way, the investigation takes care to analyze the problem of the under

registration and its causes, and to evaluate the magnitudes of the economic costs mentioned according to category,

taking as it bases the investigations made in Mexico. The reached results reveal that the economic costs of the

treatment (costs of hospitable treatment and the expenses made by the patients) of the diarrhoeas reach a significant

magnitude. This would mean that at the governmental level a greater effort would be do to improve the efficiency of

the service of potable water (cover, provided volume, quality of the liquid) and in this way to prevent the economic

and social production of diarrhoeic diseases and its related costs.

Finally, to make more reliable estimation of

the economic costs of diarrhoeas, the document proposes a methodology for such intention, defining for it a set of


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