Usage and Barriers to Use of Latrines in a Ghanaian Peri-Urban Community

Type Journal Article - Environmental Processes
Title Usage and Barriers to Use of Latrines in a Ghanaian Peri-Urban Community
Volume 2
Issue 1
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2015
Page numbers 261-274
Regular usage of latrines is crucial to public health. This study was conducted in a Ghanaian peri-urban setting to understand the factors that influence the usage of household and communal latrines and to discuss potential interventions to address existing barriers to regular usage. Data was collected using household survey questionnaires orally administered to 189 and 283 respondents with access to private and communal latrines respectively, five focus group discussions with gender and age groups, as well as observations at latrines. It was found that only 15 % of households had access to latrines at home while the rest depended on communal latrines or practised open defecation. The ventilated improved pit latrine was the commonest technology used by 47 % of households with private latrines. The residents ranked safety and privacy as the most important factors that influenced their decision to use any latrine. For private latrines, desludging challenges (14 %) and intense odour (7 %) were the most significant technical barriers while the most significant non-technical barriers were lack of immediate access when the latrine is locked or busy (28 %). For communal latrines, the major technical barrier was intense odour (23 %) while the major non-technical barriers were distance to latrines (28 %), user fees (21 %) and unhygienic conditions (7 %). Regular latrine usage in the study setting may be enhanced by technical support to address desludging challenges and control odour in latrines, as well as social interventions to make communal latrines affordable and more hygienic.

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