Ingredients for Improving Sanitation – in the Context of Ethiopia, with Potential for Application in Developing Countries

  • F H Mughal
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Ingredients for Improving Sanitation – in the Context of Ethiopia, with Potential for Application in Developing Countries

Ingredients for Improving Sanitation – in the Context of Ethiopia, with Potential for Application in Developing Countries

Ethiopia has one of the lowest rates of coverage for improved water and sanitation in the world. Nearly 54 per cent of households have access to an improved source of drinking water. Among rural households 57 per cent lack access to an improved sanitation facilities. About 46 per cent of Ethiopia’s population practice open defecation.

According to Joint Monitoring Program (JMP) 2012 update, the proportion of the population having access to improved and unimproved sanitation facilities stands at 54 per cent (21 per cent improved and 33 per cent unimproved). Nearly 39 million Ethiopians, most of them in rural areas, don’t have access to safe water; and 48 million lack access to basic sanitation.
(Source: addisstandard.com/ethiopia-water-sanitat...-hygiene-wash-facts/ )
The population of Ethiopia in 2016 was 102.6 million (Google search)

WASHwatch gives the following statistics for sanitation in Ethiopia:

Total number of people lacking access to 'at least basic' sanitation - 2015 = 92.4M
Percentage of population with access to 'at least basic' sanitation - 2015 = 7.08
Percentage of population using 'limited' sanitation service - 2015 = 6.84
Percentage of population using an 'unimproved' sanitation service - 2015 = 58.9
Percentage of population who defecate in the open - 2015 = 27.0
Percentge of rural population with access to 'at least basic' sanitation - 2015 = 4.00
Percentage of urban population with access to 'at least basic' sanitation - 2015 = 18.0
( www.washwatch.org/en/countries/ethiopia/summary/statistics/ )

The takeaway points, that stand out clearly from the above statistics, are:

• About 46 per cent of Ethiopia’s population practice open defecation; and
• Percentage of population with access to 'at least basic' sanitation - 2015 = 7.08

Sanitation in Ethiopia is poor, which warrants urgent action. What can be done to improve sanitation in Ethiopia? A possible solution has been given in the open access paper: The role of psychological factors in predicting latrine ownership and consistent latrine use in rural Ethiopia: a cross-sectional Study; authored by Fikralem Alemu, Abera Kumie, Girmay Medhin and Janvier Gasana.

According to the abstract, the objective of the study was to identify the psychological factors that predict latrine ownership and consistent latrine use in the rural Becho district of central Ethiopia.

A total of 1,047 heads of household were interviewed using a structured questionnaire. Ownership of latrine and consistent latrine use constituted the outcome variable of the study.

Of the 1,047 households, 73 per cent owned a traditional pit latrine. According to authors, the psychological factors, attitude and injunctive norm (which is the perception about how others expect them to behave) were positively and significantly associated with latrine ownership.

Among the demographic factors, having a family size of more than six, having a child attending school, and having a high school education were significantly associated with latrine ownership.

Results showed that having a positive attitude, owning of a latrine that had superstructure, having a clean latrine, and having a latrine with a protected door were significantly associated with consistent latrine use.

The authors concluded that attitude and injunctive norm are the psychological predictors of latrine
ownership, and consistent latrine use was associated with attitude, cleanliness of the latrine, and its privacy. Hence, sanitation intervention needs to focus on changing societal norms, attitudes, and the promotion of latrine quality.

While the study answers the following research question: What are the psychological determinants of latrine ownership and consistent latrine use in the rural Becho district of Ethiopia; it is clear that the ingredients for improved sanitation are attitude, injunctive norm, cleanliness of the latrine, latrine quality and privacy; at least in the context of Ethiopia. However, this has the potential for application in other developing countries.

F H Mughal

F H Mughal (Mr.)
Karachi, Pakistan
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