ASSESSMENT OF SANITATION PRACTICES AND IMPLICATION ON HEALTH (CASE STUDY OF ABULETITUN COMMUNITY ALAKUKO LAGOS)
ASSESSMENT OF SANITATION PRACTICES AND IMPLICATION ON HEALTH (CASE STUDY OF ABULETITUN COMMUNITY ALAKUKO LAGOS)
1.1 Background of the study
Sanitation can be seen as the policy and practice of protecting health through hygienic measures. In the view of the World Health Organization (WHO) (2007), sanitation generally refers to the provision of facilities and services for the safe disposal of human urine and faeces. It has been realized that improving sanitation is known to have a significant impact on health both in households and across communities (WHO, 2007). Similarly, Iheke (2010), sees sanitation as the process of keeping places clean and hygienic especially by providing a sewage system and a clean water supply. Sanitation refers to all conditions that affect the health of people in a geographical area. The word sanitation operationally refers to the maintenance of hygiene conditions, through services such as garbage collection and waste water disposal so as not to endanger the health and welfare of people and also for the social and environmental effects, it may have on people. Throughout the world, an estimated 2.5 billion people lack basic sanitation (more than 35% of the world’s population) (World Health Organization & UNICEF, 2012) Basic sanitation is described as having access to facilities for the safe disposal of human waste (faeces and urine), as well as having the ability to maintain hygienic conditions, through services such as garbage collection, industrial/hazardous waste management, and wastewater treatment and disposal.(World Health Organization & UNICEF, 2012).According to WHO and UNICEF (2012), without immediate acceleration in progress, the world will not achieve the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) sanitation target (i.e., to halve the proportion of people without sustainable access to basic sanitation by 2015). Basic Sanitation is very important in all places and environments especially schools. School sanitation refers to hygienic practices that occur in schools. Coppens (2005) consider School Sanitation and Hygiene Education as the combination of hardware and software components that are necessary to produce a healthy school environment to develop or support safe hygiene behaviour. The author is of the view that hardware components include supply of drinking water and facilities for hand washing and safe disposal of excreta and solid waste in and around the school compound. The software components are the activities that promote hygienic conditions at schools as well as practices of school staff and children that help to prevent water and sanitation related diseases and parasites. Poor sanitation in school environment will have certain negative influences on learning Learning in an unhygienic environment can affect learning in a lot of ways. Snel (2004) and Water Aid Uganda (2013) indicate that “health influences learning and education influences health which is indicated in the fact that poor sanitation causes diarrhoea which keeps students in hospitals rather than in schools”. They also noted that diarrhoea kills 1.5 million children each year. It is obvious that a sick person cannot learn properly. Poor sanitation could also lead to waterborne diseases (like typhoid, cholera,), infections with intestinal worms, stunted growth and malnutrition. (Sharma, 2015).More than five million people die each year from diseases related to inadequate waste disposal systems (WHO, 2007).There are so many indications of poor sanitation in most institutions. The promises of school health and hygiene education programmes have not always been fulfilled by either the government or stakeholders in education (Danida, 2007). Many school environments in most institutions are not safe for students due to neglect of the operation and maintenance of health facilities. Danida further states that schools often suffer from non-existent or insufficient water supply, sanitation and hand washing facilities, dirty and unsafe water supply, toilets or latrines that are not adapted to the needs of students particularly girls; nonexistence of hygiene education, unhealthy and dirty classrooms/school compounds among others. Also, lack of sanitation, unsafe disposal or storage of waste in/around houses and streets, and in undesignated containers may provide habitats for vectors of diseases that cause various infectious diseases including typhoid fever and diarrhoeas (Ogawa, 2005).WHO (2007) estimates that 88% of diarrhoeal disease is caused by unsafe water supply and inadequate sanitation and hygiene. This has led to the need for measures to be evolved that will enhance proper sanitation in schools. Smart investments in sanitation can reduce disease, increase family incomes, keep girls and boys in school, help preserve the environment, and enhance human dignity. Increasing evidence also shows that school sanitation and hygiene education programmes offer high cost benefit (Danida, 2007).In 2008, the world health organization’s expert committee on environmental sanitation ( as cited by Evans, Vandervoorden & Peal, 2009) said that proper environmental sanitation involves the control of community water supplies, excreta and waste water disposal, refuse disposal, vectors of diseases, housing conditions, food supplies and handling conditions, atmospheric conditions and the safety of the working environment. Meanwhile the world needs for the basic sanitation services like drinking water supply, excreta and waste water disposal, have greatly increased as a result of rapid population growth and higher expectations(Thor, 2005).Thor further opined that a major way of solving environmental issues is the encouragement of research in environmental sanitation. However, providing sanitation to students requires a system approach rather than only focusing on the toilet or water waste treatment plan. (Tilley, Ulrich, Lüthi, Reymond, & Zurbrügg, 2014). Sanitation system generally involves faeces collection, transport and treatment (Sustainable Sanitation Alliance, 2008).The main objectives of a sanitation system is to protect and promote human health by providing a clean environment and breaking the cycle of disease. In choosing the particular system to use, a lot of factors have to be considered. The factors to be considered include; experience of the user, excreta and wastewater collection methods, transportation or conveyance of waste, treatment and reuse or disposal of wastes. Not minding the type of system chosen, sanitation is of various types. Sanitation types are many. The various types of sanitation include, community led total sanitation, dry sanitation, ecological sanitation, and environmental sanitation. (AKUT Sustainable Sanitation, 2014 as cited in Sanni, 2015) The author went further to give a brief description of each of the types. Community-Led Total Sanitation (CLTS) is an approach to achieve behaviour change in mainly rural people by a process of triggering behaviour change, leading to spontaneous and long-term abandonment of open defecation practices. CLTS takes an approach to rural sanitation by ensuring communities recognize the problem of open defecation and take collective action to clean up and become “open defecation free. The second type called dry sanitation usually means sanitation systems with dry toilets which have urine diversion, in particular the urine-diverting dry toilet. The third type called the Ecological sanitation commonly abbreviated to ecosan, is an approach, rather than a technology or a device which is characterized by a desire to “close the loop” (mainly for the nutrients and organic matter) between sanitation and agriculture in a safe manner. Put in other words, Ecosan systems safely recycle excreta resources (plant nutrients and organic matter) to crop production in such a way that the use of non-renewable resources is minimised. When properly designed and operated, ecosan systems provide a hygienically safe, economical, and closed-loop system which converts human excreta into nutrients to be returned to the soil, and water to be returned to the land. Finally, Environmental sanitation encompasses the control of environmental factors that are connected to disease transmission. Subsets of this category are solid waste management, water and wastewater treatment, industrial waste treatment and noise and pollution control. In the context of this work, environmental sanitation is used interchangeably with sanitation. This is because it is the particular type of sanitation of particular interest to institutions. Environmental sanitation encompasses four major subsets which include; solid waste management, water and wastewater treatment, industrial waste treatment and noise and pollution control. There has been considerable awareness of water supply in institutions, but the problems of excreta and waste disposal have received less attention (Danida, 2007). Therefore, the researchers seek to find out the implication of sanitation practices on the health of the members of Abuletitun community Alakuko of Lagos State. Due to the fact that poor sanitation could affect not only the adult’s health but also their children, it became necessary to find out ways in which environmental sanitation can be improved in Abuletitun community Alakuko of Lagos State.
1.2. Statement of the Problem
Waste disposal, refuse disposal as well as inadequate water supply are problems in our environment especially in institutions. It is caused by a lot of factors. These include neglect of the operation and maintenance of health facilities, lack of hygiene education for the students, non-existent or insufficient water supply, poor sanitation and inadequate hand washing facilities, dirty and unsafe water supply; toilets or latrines that are not adapted to the needs of students as well as unhealthy and dirty classrooms/school compounds. These factors have led to consequences on student health. Diseases related to poor sanitation and water availability causes many sicknesses like cholera, diarrhoea, malaria and typhoid. All these diseases greatly affect the health of students. Students cannot even learn properly because they are sick. Even learning in unhealthy environments leads to student not even understanding what they are being taught and in extreme cases it could lead to students’ mortality. Snel (2004) and Water Aid Uganda (2013) noted that diarrhoea which is caused by poor sanitation kills 1.5 million children each year. Based on the negative effects of poor sanitation on the health of students, something has to be done. However, it is not clear on the extent in which school management have contributed in curbing poor sanitation practices. A lot of literature available talks about environmental sanitation strategies but most of them have been done in the wider communities and not in institutions of learning (Sanni, 2015). Therefore, the study seeks to find out the strategies which could be employed to improve sanitation in Abuletitun community Alakuko of Lagos State in order to reduce its effects on the members’ health.
1.3. Objective of the Study
The general objective of this study is to assess the sanitation practices and how it affects the health of the members of Abuletitun Community Alakuko Lagos. Specifically this study seeks to:
- Identify the causes of poor sanitation practices in Abuletitun community Alakuko Lagos.
- Examine the effects of poor sanitation practices on the health of the members of Abuletitun community Alakuko Lagos
- Ascertain the ways in which the government have contributed in providing facilities that will enhance sanitation practices in Abuletitun community Alakuko Lagos
- Find out the strategies that could be employed to enhance sanitation practices among the members of Abuletitun community Alakuko Lagos
1.4. Research Questions
- What are the causes of poor sanitation practices in Abuletitun community Alakuko Lagos?
- What are the effects of poor sanitation practices on the health of the members of Abuletitun community Alakuko Lagos?
- What are the ways in which the government has contributed in providing facilities that will enhance sanitation practices in Abuletitun community Alakuko Lagos?
- What are the strategies that could be employed to enhance sanitation practices among the members of Abuletitun community Alakuko Lagos?
This study is a unique venture in the recent time and in the history of environmental sanitation in the rural level. The result of the findings of the study would therefore be useful to not only the government but also to individuals, the public and the community. To the government, it could help in reviewing their former strategies with a view of achieving health for all at a low or no significant cost. The findings and recommendation may stimulate health challenges in other rural community towards inculcating and maintaining health habits and practices thereby advancing lasting solution to the fast global environmental decay.
To the community, the study could be a source of motivation that could immortalize the initiative of the people and so this health practice part of the people so this health practice part of the people culture. The result of the investigation could also initiate further research in the health area, in the effort to establishing a more dynamic health culture for the world at large.
1.6 Limitation of the study
As a result of the limited time allowed for this work and financial constraints, the research study was limited to Abuletitun community Alakuko of Lagos. The usual defects of questionnaire such as incomplete return, inconsonant responses and responses aimed at pleasing the investigations are also necessary part of the limitation of study.