Shared Sanitation Facilities: A Reality or Mirage?
Per current WHO/UNICEF JMP definition, improved sanitation facilities are those that are likely to ensure hygienic separation of human excreta from human contact. Improved sanitation facilities therefore exclude shared facilities of all types and open defecation. Unimproved sanitation (shared, other unimproved and open defecation) constitutes 32% of global sanitation access. Though shared sanitation facilities are not considered improved, current debate seeks to discount this and argues that non-shared sanitation facilities are virtually impossible in peri-urban settlements of mixed socio-cultural and religious settings with limited space for household sanitation construction, high poverty and population densities. Lower sharing of sanitation facilities is generally associated with higher benefits to users. Sanitation facilities provision at lower sharing can provide comparable levels of health benefits as flush toilets for individual households if they are well operated and maintained, convenient and provide security. We argue that though the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) led to significant sanitation coverage, the narrow improved sanitation definition is a constraint – particularly because shared sanitation may be viable option and able to promote health in poor communities. This review concludes that the categorization of all shared facilities as unimproved is a misrepresentation of sanitation reality in poor communities, and has therefore hugely contributed to the low sanitation coverage recorded globally. It is thus recommended that shared sanitation facilities at low sharing of 2 – 3 households per shared facility (depending on the household sizes) under good operation and maintenance culture be included in the improved sanitation category for low-income countries.
WHO/UNICEF Joint Monitoring Programme. The Millennium Development Goals Report 2014. USA:WHO/UNICEF, 2014.
UN-Water. Interview with Senior Advisor on Sanitation and Hygiene, Theresa Dooley. USA: UNICEF, 2008.
I. K. Tumwebaze, C. G. Orach, C. Niwagaba, C. Luthi and H. J. Mosler. “Sanitation facilities in Kampala slums, Uganda: users’ satisfaction and determinant factors.” International Journal of Environmental Health Research, vol. 23 (3), 2012.
A Y. Katukiza, M. Ronteltap, C. Niwagaba, J. W. A. Foppen, F. Kansiime and P. N. L. Lens. “Sustainable sanitation technology options for urban slums.” Biotechnology Advances, vol. 30 (5), pp. 964 – 978, 2012.
K. B. Nelson, J. Karver, C. Kullman, and J. B. Graham. “User perceptions of shared sanitation among rural households in Indonesia and Bangladesh.” DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0103886, 2014.
T. Rheinländer, F. Konradsen, B. Keraite, P. Apoya, and M. Gyapong. “Redefining shared sanitation.” Bulletin of the World Health Organization. Article BLT.14.144980, 2015.
C. Thrift. Sanitation Policy in Ghana: Key Factors and the Potential for Ecological Sanitation Solutions. Stockholm: Stockholm Environment Institute, 2007.
J. Pearson and K. Mcphedran. “A literature review of the non-health impacts of sanitation.” Waterlines, vol. 27 (1), pp. 48 – 61, 2008.
J. B. Isunju, K. Schwartz, M. A. Schouten, W. P. Johnson and M. P. Dijk. “Socio-economic aspects of improved sanitation in slums: a review.” Public Health, vol. 125, pp. 368 – 376, 2011.
R. G. Feachem. “Interventions for the control of diarrhoea diseases among young children: promotion of personal and domestic hygiene.” Bulletin of the World Health Organization, vol. 62, pp. 467 – 476, 1984.
M. W. Jenkins and B. Scott, B. “Behavioral indicators of household decision-making and demand for sanitation and potential gains from social marketing in Ghana.” Journal of Social Science and Medicine, vol. 64 (12), pp. 2427 – 2442, 2007.
G. Hutton, L. Haller and J. Bartram. “Global cost-benefit analysis of water supply and sanitation interventions.” Journal of Water and Health, vol. 5 (4), pp. 481 – 502, 2007.
D. Mara. “Sanitation options for low income urban areas: technical options and financial arrangements.”Kf W Water Symposium 2009: Financing Sanitation, Frankfurt, 8 – 9 October, 2010.
A. Tsinda, P. Abbott, P. Pedley, K. Charles, J. Adogo, K. Okurut, and J. Chenoweth. “Challenges to achieving sustainable sanitation in informal settlements in Kigali, Rwanda.” International Journal of Environmental Resources and Public Health, vol. 10 (12), pp. 6938 – 6954, 2013.
I. Günther, C. B. Niwagaba, C. Lüthi, A. Horst, H. J. Mosler, and I. K. Tumwebaze. “When is shared sanitation improved sanitation? – The correlation between number of users and toilet hygiene.” Research for Policy 2, 2012.
Ghana Statistical Service. 2010 Population and Housing Census: Summary Report of Final Results. Accra: Republic of Ghana, 2012.
D. D. Mara and G. P. Alabaster. “A new paradigm for low-cost urban water supplies and sanitation in developing countries.” Water Policy, vol. 10, pp. 119 – 129, 2008.
A. Cotton, R. Franceys, J. Pickford and D. Saywell. On-Plot Sanitation in Low-Income Urban communities: A Review of Literature. WEDC: Loughborough University of Technology, 1995.
M. A. C. Schouten and R. W. Mathenge. “Communal sanitation alternatives for slums: a case study of Libera, Kenya.” Physics and Chemistry of the Earth, vol. 35, pp. 815 – 822, 2010.
A. Biran. “Communal toilets in urban poverty pockets – use and user satisfaction associated with seven communal toilets in Bhopal, India.” WaterAid Report, India, 2010.
A. M. Wright. Towards a Strategic Sanitation Approach: Improving the Sustainability of Urban Sanitation in Developing Countries. UNDP-World Bank Water and Sanitation Program, 1997.
- There are currently no refbacks.