Socio-Cultural and Behavioural Factors Constraining Latrine Adoption in Rural Coastal Odisha: An Exploratory Qualitative Study

Open defecation is widely practiced in India, yet literature on social, cultural and behavioural aspects that constrain latrine adoption and use in rural India is limited. This SHARE-funded journal paper by Routray et al. (2015), published in BMC Public Health, reports on the findings of a qualitative study seeking to address this gap. It examines the defecation patterns of different groups of people in rural areas of Odisha, India, to identify causes and determinants of latrine non-use, with a special focus on government-subsidized latrine owners, and shortcomings in household sanitation infrastructure built with government subsidies. It finds that providing infrastructure does not ensure use when there are significant and culturally engrained behavioural barriers to using latrines, and warns that future sanitation programmes in rural India should focus on understanding and addressing these behavioural barriers.

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