A Systematic Review of Diarrheal Diseases and Helminth Infections: Their Differential Burden Between Genders and the Role of Women in the Abatement of the Epidemics

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Even though research on diarrheal diseases has been done in the past, some aspects have remained unexplored. One of these aspects is the differential disease burden and vulnerability to disease between males and females. We try to shed light on this important issue by performing a systematic review of relevant articles chosen from the literature. We searched PubMed for peer-reviewed articles, and included grey literature from the World Health Organization, Water and Sanitation for the Urban Poor and Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council. All articles that dealt with the public health relevance of diarrheal disease, focused on access to clean water and care taker role in access to clean water, role of gender in sanitation, helminth infections and differential gender burden were included in this study. Articles which do not address diarrheal diseases and the role of sanitation and WASH interventions in the amelioration of diarrheal diseases and helminth infections, articles that are not epidemiologically linked or articles that deal with rare pathogens or diseases, therapeutic regimens or drug resistance were excluded from the study. All articles that dealt with respondents 6 years of age and older were included in the study. From our systematic review, we concluded that the burden of diarrheal disease falls more on females qualitatively than males. Women empowerment in making household and community level decisions with regard to sanitation may be of greater benefit to the well-being of society in developing countries. Some limitations of our study are: The study participants in most of the studies belonged to the 6-18 year age group, which could have resulted in age bias. Secondly, because of the large quantity of articles that were retrieved, there is a small but very unlikely chance that some relevant articles might have been missed. Lastly, we provide qualitative evidence of differential burden of diarrheal disease between genders. A meta-analysis will be performed to consolidate our current findings.


American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene Annual Meeting (ASTMH)


Pennsylvania, PA