Impact of waste disposal on health of a poor urban community in Zimbambwe
AbstractObjective: To assess excreta and waste disposal facilities available and their impact on sanitation related diseases in Epworth, an informal settlement on the outskirts of Harare.
Design: Descriptive cross-sectional survey.
Setting: This was a community based study of Epworth informal settlement.
Subjects: A total of 308 households were interviewed. Participating households were randomly selected from the three communities of Epworth. Secondary medical archival data on diarrhoeal disease prevalence was collected from local clinics and district health offices in the study areas.
Results: Only 7% of households were connected to the sewer system. The study revealed that in Zinyengere extension 13% had no toilet facilities, 48% had simple pits and 37% had Blair VIP latrines. In Overspill 2% had no toilet facilities, 28% had simple latrines and 36% had Blair VIP latrines while in New Gada 20% had no toilet facilities, 24% had simple pits and 23% had Blair VIP latrines. Although a significant percentage had latrines (83.2%), over 50% of the population were not satisfied with the toilet facilities they were using. All the respondents expressed dissatisfaction with their domestic waste disposal practices with 46.6% admitting to have indiscriminately dumped waste. According to the community, diarrhoeal diseases were the most prevalent diseases (50%) related to poor sanitation. Health statistics also indicated that diarrhoea was a major problem in this community.
Conclusion: It is recommended that households and the local authorities concentrate on improving the provision of toilets, water and waste disposal facilities as a way of improving the health state of the community.
East African Medical Journal Vol.81(8) 2004: 422-426