Open defecation-free slippage and its associated factors in Ethiopia: a systematic review

Syst Rev. 2020 Nov 3;9(1):252. doi: 10.1186/s13643-020-01511-6.


Background: Recent studies have shown an increase in open defecation and slippage of open defecation-free certified villages in Ethiopia, despite significant progress the country made on sanitation programs. Hence, realizing of existing facts, this study was conducted aiming at a critical review of available literature and to provide consolidated data showing the level of slippage and its associated factors in Ethiopia.

Methods: Systematic literature searches were performed from four international databases. The search involved articles published from December 1, 2013, up to June 4, 2019. The Cochran's Q and I2 test statistics were used to check heterogeneity among the studies. To negotiate heterogeneity from qualitative data, we used a mixed-method approach. The researchers also conducted a publication bias assessment and sensitivity analysis. A random effect meta-analysis was employed to determine the pooled estimates of open defecation free slippage rate with a 95% confidence interval (CI). The data analysis was performed using the CMA V.3 software program.

Result: After screening 1382 studies, 12 studies were finally included in this systematic review. The estimated pooled rate of open defecation-free slippage in Ethiopia was 15.9% (95% CI 12.9-19.4%). The main contributing factors for open defecation-free slippage were lack of technical support, financial constraints, low-quality building materials, improper program implementation, and lack of sanitation marketing.

Conclusion: It was estimated that 1 out of 6 Ethiopian households engaged in open defecation after they have certified open defecation-free status, implying the low possibility of achieving sustainable development goals of 2030, which aims to ensure sanitation for all. Therefore, the government of Ethiopia and donors should better give special attention to the following options: (1) awareness for open defecation-free slippage, (2) launch a post-open defecation-free program, and (3) encourage research on pro-poor sustainable sanitation technologies.

Keywords: Defecation; Ethiopia; Hygiene; Sanitation.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Ethiopia
  • Family Characteristics
  • Humans
  • Research Design
  • Rural Population*
  • Sanitation*