Contributing to the debate on categorising shared sanitation facilities as 'unimproved': An account based on field researchers' observations and householders' opinions in three regions, Tanzania

Health risks associated with poor sanitation behaviours continue to be reported mostly from low-income countries. This paper is based on results from a study undertaken in three regions Tanzania. Data were collected through observations in 1,751 households with latrines, coupled with collection of opinions from heads of such households regarding the latrine-sharing practices. Bivariate and multivariate logistic regression analyses were performed to assess associations between the outcome and possible predictor variables. Of all 1,751 latrines, 14.6% were shared. Among the shared latrines, 74.2% were found being generally clean as compared to 69.2% of the non-shared ones. Having an 'improved' latrine remains important as JMP recommends, but based on our study findings, we argue that possessing a non-shared latrine neither guarantees safety to its users nor its categorisation as 'improved'. Instead, the state of the latrine, the construction technology used and the behaviours of the users may be more important.

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