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Sanitation and Slums: Root Causes and Solutions
To identify factors that cause low sanitation practice in the slum communities and set recommendations to solve them to ensure clean and sanitary environment that nurtures the health and social well-being of the inhabitants.
By Abdissa Aga and Walelegn Worku
Jul. 22, 2016

To identify factors that cause low sanitation practice in the slum communities and set recommendations to solve them to ensure clean and sanitary environment that nurtures the health and social well-being of the inhabitants.

Access to safe sanitation services in Ethiopia is among the lowest in Sub-Saharan Africa. Although the magnitude of the problem is huge in the rural areas, households in urban areas also suffer from it as well, especially the slums. The main causes for this low sanitation coverage are not clearly set and well understood except the agreement that they range from the lower community level to the higher policy development and implementation state.

A recent study conducted by Mr. Abdissa Aga has identified the level of sanitation practice and major factors associated with it in the urban slums of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The research was conducted in the four inner most sub cities of Addis Ababa; namely, Addis Ketema, Lideta, Kirkos, and Gullele sub cities. According to the research, the low level of sanitation practice in the slums is mainly influenced by household income, location of household (residential area), and latrine sharing habit.

In the paper, Abdissa showed that households that reside in slummiest areas tend to have very low sanitation practice by comparing Addis Ketema (the slummiest sub city) with the other three sub cities. Abdissa goes on to explain that this is because of the very high habit of latrine sharing and comparatively low socio economic status of households in Addis Ketema.

Picture 1: Existing Sanitation Facility Shared by 41 Households in Addis Ketema Sub City Woreda /District/ 8, January 2015

On the other hand; history of owning previous latrine, future latrine improvement plans, and receiving subsidy during latrine construction were identified by the research to increase the level of sanitation practice in the community.

“Those who received support during the construction of latrine were bound to have a good practice of sanitation and more likely to have improved sanitation status than others. These points towards the issue of subsidy and support of the urban poor related to hygiene and sanitation should not be ignored. Because, the type of subsidy does not matter as long as it addresses the right fall backs of the community. Subsidy doesn’t necessary mean money”, Abdissa said.

In his conclusion, Abdissa, clearly stated that it is crucial to develop and implement different awareness creation, capacity building, and subsidy strategies that specifically target the urban slums and address the root causes of the problem in order to guarantee the attempt to ensure total sanitation coverage in the urban Ethiopia.

Author: Abdissa Aga, School of Public Health, College of Health Sciences, University of Gondar, Gondar, Ethiopia

Co-author: Walelegn Worku, Addis Continental Institute of Public Health (ACIPH), Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

A paper about the study appeared recently in Science journal Of Public Health

Paper link:
http://article.sciencepublishinggroup.com/html/10.11648.j.sjph.20160404.15.html

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