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Rural and peri-urban communities in developing countries rely on sanitation systems which are often unsafely managed. One of the major barriers to assess safely managed sanitation is a lack of data about the existing sanitation infrastructure and levels of containment safety. The aim was to review rural and peri-urban on-site sanitation studies in order to understand different infrastructure types, associated management practices and any impacts on human health. The scope was limited to South-East Asia and Western Pacific regions in order to better identify regional inequalities. Among the 155 reviewed articles, 73 studies (47%) linked sanitation infrastructure to poor human health. Nearly all articles reported latrine ownership (n = 149, 96%) while sanitation infrastructure types were covered less frequently (n = 104, 67%). In particular, there was a lack of published literature describing back-end characteristics (dimension and materials) (n = 12, 8%) and/or management practices (n = 4, 3%). This stems from a limited application of research methodologies that characterise sanitation infrastructure and faecal sludge management (containment, emptying and on-site treatment). Inequality between regions was prevalent with three quarters of the studies on latrine back-end infrastructure from Bangladesh and India in South-East Asia. A strategic research approach is needed to address the current knowledge gaps regarding sanitation infrastructure and safe faecal sludge management. Copyright © 2022 Elsevier GmbH. All rights reserved.


Nabeela Nasim, Abbas El-Zein, Jacqueline Thomas. A review of rural and peri-urban sanitation infrastructure in South-East Asia and the Western Pacific: Highlighting regional inequalities and limited data. International journal of hygiene and environmental health. 2022 Jul;244:113992

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PMID: 35752101

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