What Proportion Counts? Disaggregating Access to Safely Managed Sanitation in an Emerging Town in Tanzania

This paper by Komakech et al. was published in 2019 in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. The paper discusses the inconsistency in sanitation data generated by urban authorities and proposes a simple approach for collecting reliable and verifiable information on access to safely managed sanitation. The work is based on a study conducted in Babati Town Council in Tanzania. Using a smartphone-based survey tool, city health officers were trained to map 17,383 housing units in the town. A housing unit may comprise of two or more households. The findings show that 5% practice open defecation, while 82% of the housing units have some form of sanitation. Despite the extensive coverage, only 31% of the fecal sludge generated is safely contained, while 64% is not. This study demonstrates the possibility of using simple survey tools to collect reliable data for monitoring progress towards safely managed sanitation in the towns of global South.  

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