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date: 10 December 2022

Changing Open Defecation Behaviorlocked

Changing Open Defecation Behaviorlocked

  • Mark RadinMark RadinUniversity of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Gillings School of Global Public Health

Summary

Open defecation (OD) remains a persistent problem in many low-income countries. The international community, through the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), has committed itself to eliminating OD by 2030. While access to and use of latrines has steadily increased, much is unknown on how to eliminate OD. The history of the elimination of OD in high-income countries offers potential lessons for achieving the sanitation targets of the SDGs. A desk review of sanitation literature revealed a well-documented effort to eliminate OD in the United States, which faced many of the same obstacles as those encountered in low-income countries in the 21st century. One of the important lessons is that eliminating OD takes sustained efforts over decades and substantial resources. The international efforts to eliminate OD have evolved through numerous phases within the global development agenda. To eliminate OD will require continued investment in new and ongoing programs, which are often led by national governments in partnership with international organizations, civil society, and the private sector. Many successful programs have utilized numerous approaches for eliminating OD as the barriers to sanitation use are different across societies and for each individual. Access to sanitation in institutions such as schools and health care facilities as well as public facilities remains a problem in both high- and low-income countries. Finally, the international community will need to deploy more resources and develop effective approaches for ensuring that latrine adoption and use is sustainable.

Subjects

  • Behavioral Science & Health Education
  • Environmental Health
  • Global Health

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