Assessment of Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Practices Among Households, 2019 - Sierra Leone: A Community-based Cluster Survey

Environ Health Insights. 2022 Sep 26;16:11786302221125042. doi: 10.1177/11786302221125042. eCollection 2022.


Introduction: In Sierra Leone, diseases related to water, sanitation, and hygiene remain among the leading cause of morbidity and account for 20% of all death. This study assessed the water, sanitation, and hygiene services and practices at household level in Sierra Leone.

Methods: A cluster survey was conducted among 1002 households in 4 districts of Sierra Leone. Data was collected on water, sanitation, and hygiene indicators, occurrence of diarrhoeal diseases at household level within 14-day prior to the survey. Chi-square test at 95% significant level was computed to compare the difference in accessing improved water sources, sanitation, and hygiene in urban and rural areas.

Result: Of the 1002 households surveyed, 650 (65%) had access to improved drinking water sources. In the urban areas, 432 (88%) out of 486 households had improved drinking water source, which is higher as compared to rural areas. Only 218 (42%) out of 516 households had improved drinking water (P < .001). Of the total households surveyed, 167 (17%) had improved sanitation with 45 (5%) having a handwashing facility. There were 173 households reporting diarrhoeal disease within 2 weeks prior to the survey, with prevalence of 17%.

Conclusion: Majority of households in rural areas do not have access to improved water sources, sanitation, and handwashing facilities. This study found a high prevalence of diarrhoeal disease at the household level. It is recommended that The Ministry of Health and Sanitation work with relevant sectors to increase access to improved drinking water, sanitation, and handwashing facilities in rural areas.

Keywords: Hand washing; Sierra Leone; diarrhoeal disease; sanitation; water supply.