Patterns and Drivers of Household Sanitation Access and Sustainability in Kwale County, Kenya

Environ Sci Technol. 2021 May 4;55(9):6052-6064. doi: 10.1021/acs.est.0c05647. Epub 2021 Apr 7.


Many sanitation interventions suffer from poor sustainability. Failure to maintain or replace toilet facilities risks exposing communities to environmental pathogens, yet little is known about the factors that drive sustained access beyond project life spans. Using data from a cohort of 1666 households in Kwale County, Kenya, we investigated the factors associated with changes in sanitation access between 2015 and 2017. Sanitation access is defined as access to an improved or unimproved facility within the household compound that is functional and in use. A range of contextual, psychosocial, and technological covariates were included in logistic regression models to estimate their associations with (1) the odds of sustaining sanitation access and (2) the odds of gaining sanitation access. Over two years, 28.3% households sustained sanitation access, 4.7% lost access, 17.7% gained access, and 49.2% remained without access. Factors associated with increased odds of households sustaining sanitation access included not sharing the facility and presence of a solid washable slab. Factors associated with increased odds of households gaining sanitation access included a head with at least secondary school education, level of coarse soil fragments, and higher local sanitation coverage. Results from this study can be used by sanitation programs to improve the rates of initial and sustained adoption of sanitation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Family Characteristics
  • Humans
  • Kenya
  • Sanitation*
  • Soil
  • Toilet Facilities*


  • Soil