Opportunities and barriers to effective operation and maintenance of public toilets in informal settlements: perspectives from toilet operators in Kampala

Tonny Ssekamatte*, John Bosco Isunju, Bonny Enock Balugaba, Doreen Nakirya, Jimmy Osuret, P. Mguni, Richard Mugambe, B.J.M. van Vliet

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

Although classified by the Joint Monitoring Programme (JMP) as unimproved sanitation facilities, public toilets still play a critical role in eliminating open defecation in informal settlements. We explored perspectives of toilet operators on opportunities and barriers to operation and maintenance (O&M) of public toilets in informal settlements. A cross-sectional study design was used. Up to 20 in-depth interviews were used to obtain data on the experiences of public toilet operators. Thematic content analysis was used. Ressults show that opportunities for improving O&M include; operation of public toilets is a source of livelihood; operators are knowledgeable on occupational risks, and the community is involvedin sanitation activities. Barriers to effective O&M include; high operation costs, failure to break even and a lack of investments in occupational health Therefore, there is need to recognise the significance of public toilets as a viable alternative to open defecation in areas where ownership of private sanitation facilities is difficult. Failure to observe the health and safety of toilet operators may further compromise O&M.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)359-370
Number of pages13
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Health Research
Volume29
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2018

Keywords

  • sanitation
  • occupational hazards
  • exposure
  • risk
  • hygiene

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