Determinants of disposal of child faeces in latrines in urban slums of Odisha, India: a cross-sectional study

Trans R Soc Trop Med Hyg. 2019 May 1;113(5):263-272. doi: 10.1093/trstmh/try142.


Background: Even among households that have access to improved sanitation, children's faeces often do not end up in a latrine, the international criterion for safe disposal of child faeces.

Methods: We collected data on possible determinants of safe child faeces disposal in a cross-sectional study of 851 children <5 y of age from 694 households in 42 slums in two cities in Odisha, India. Caregivers were asked about defecation and faeces disposal practices for all the children <5 y of age in the household.

Results: Only a quarter (25.5%) of the 851 children's faeces were reported to be disposed of in a latrine. Even fewer (22.3%) of the 694 households reported that the faeces of all children <5 y of age in the home ended up in the latrine the last time the child defecated. In multivariate analysis, factors associated with being a safe disposal household were education and religion of the primary caregiver, number of children <5 y of age in the household, wealth, type and location of the latrine used by the household, household members >5 y of age using the latrine for defecation and mobility of children <5 y of age in the household.

Conclusions: Few households reported disposing of all of their children's faeces in a latrine. Improving latrine access and specific behaviour change interventions may improve this practice.

Keywords: India; WASH; child faeces; cross-sectional study; sanitation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Child, Preschool
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Diarrhea / prevention & control
  • Female
  • Health Behavior*
  • Humans
  • Hygiene / standards*
  • India
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Poverty Areas*
  • Sanitation / standards*
  • Toilet Facilities / statistics & numerical data*
  • Urban Population / statistics & numerical data*