Proximity Density Assessment and Characterization of Water and Sanitation Facilities in the Informal Settlements of Kisumu City: Implications for Public Health Planning

J UOEH. 2020;42(3):237-249. doi: 10.7888/juoeh.42.237.


Access to water and sanitation remain a challenge in many developing countries, especially in pro-poor urban informal settlements where socioeconomic livelihoods are generally low. The aim of this study was to characterise the water and sanitation facilities in the informal settlements of Kisumu City and to evaluate their effect on community hygiene and health. The study focussed on the five urban informal settlements of Nyalenda A, Nyalenda B, Manyatta A, Manyatta B and Obunga, and the three Peri-urban informal settlements of Kogony, Usoma and Otonglo. Using descriptive techniques, the researcher surveyed 114 water sources and all sanitation facilities within 0-15 m and 15-30 m radii of the water sources. The findings revealed dominance of shallow wells and traditional pit latrines as the primary water sources and sanitation facilities, respectively. Out of the water sources studied, 87.7% (100) were shallow wells (mean depth 1.5 m), 9.6% (11) springs and 2.6% (3) boreholes. Most of these shallow wells (83%) were within the urban informal settlements where uses range from washing and cleaning, cooking, and even drinking (13.5%), despite the majority being unprotected. The analysis of the density of sanitation facilities near the water points showed that 32.3% existed within a 15 m radius of the nearest water sources, in violation of the recommended safe distance of 30 m. With an increased density of toilets near critical water sources and other sanitary practices, public health is highly compromised.

Keywords: Sanitation technology; density; health; informal settlements; water-source.

MeSH terms

  • Health Planning*
  • Humans
  • Kenya
  • Poverty*
  • Sanitation*
  • Social Class*
  • Toilet Facilities*
  • Urban Health*
  • Water Supply*