Shared sanitation: to include or to exclude?


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Abstract

Just over 600 million people used shared sanitation in 2015, but this form of sanitation is not considered ‘improved sanitation’ or, in the current terminology, ‘basic sanitation’ by WHO/UNICEF, principally because they are typically unhygienic. Recent research has shown that neighbour-shared toilets perform much better than large communal toilets. The successful development of community-designed, built and managed sanitation-and-water blocks in very poor urban areas in India should be adapted and adopted throughout urban slums in developing countries, with a caretaker employed to keep the facilities clean. Such shared sanitation should be classified as ‘basic’, sometimes as ‘safely-managed’, sanitation, so contributing to the achievement of the sanitation target of the Sustainable Development Goals.

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