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Assessment of Public Health Risks from Unsafe Fecal Sludge Management in Accra, Ghana

H Yakubu, D Berendes, K Robb, A Kirby, Y Wang, J Michiel, B Doe, S Raj, J Ampofo, CL Moe

Habib Yukubu shared the results of a deployment of the SaniPath tool in Accra, Ghana during the 4th International Faecal Sludge Management Conference. The purpose of the study was to evaluate whether the tool could be used to characterize city level exposure to fecal contamination using a subset of representative neighborhoods with varying sanitation coverage, population density, and socioeconomic status. Yukubu and his colleagues found that the SaniPath could be a useful tool to determine which exposure pathway presents the greatest risk of exposure to fecal contamination and whether that risk differed between neighborhoods.

In the study, Yukubu and his colleagues conducted behavioral surveys and collected sample data in four representative Accra, Ghana neighborhoods between April and August 2016. Each neighborhood varied as to its’ level of sanitation coverage, population density, and socioeconomic status, according to the Ghana Statistical Service 2010 census and the Accra Metropolitan Authority Poverty Map.

After collecting and analyzing the data, the researchers found that the produce pathway had the greatest risk of exposure to fecal contamination, and that the proportion of people exposed to fecal contamination via produce ranged from 93%-96% across each neighborhood. By combining behavioral data and environmental exposure data, the pathway posing the greatest threat to individuals became clear. Given this information from the SaniPath tool, decision makers have solid evidence to help plan and prioritize sanitation investments in resource poor settings.

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