Measuring the Safety of Excreta Disposal Behavior in India with the New Safe San Index: Reliability, Validity and Utility

Methods to assess household excreta disposal practices are critical for informing public health outcomes of efforts to improve sanitation in developing countries. This paper by Jenkins et al. (2014), published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, presents a new metric, the Safe San Index (SSI), to quantify the hygienic safety of a household’s defecation and human feces disposal practices in India, where behavioral outcomes from on-going public expenditures to construct household sanitation facilities and eliminate open defecation are poorly measured. It also presents the results of a pilot study in Odisha, India, to apply the Index to assess excreta disposal behaviors among rural households and evaluate the reliability and validity of the Index for estimating the rate of correct and consistent sanitation facility usage of household with an improved latrine.

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