Principal Investigator: Thomas Handzel, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
This project aimed to determine the safety and acceptability of urine-diversion toilets in a refugee camp setting in Ethiopia. Urine-diversion toilets are potentially valuable for public health in environments where pit latrines are not possible. Although these latrines have been in use for many years in non-emergency settings, they have only been implemented on a small scale in humanitarian crises. This programme of applied research sought to determine if these designs can be effectively utilised at scale in humanitarian contexts. Research focused on the refugee population’s acceptance and effective use of the latrines, and the performance of the toilets under real climatic conditions to create a safe end product. The research aims to help implementing agencies determine whether urine-diversion toilets, as currently designed, are an appropriate intervention in this type of setting.
Both qualitative surveys and laboratory-based research were successfully undertaken. Surveys were carried out across 400 households representing both users and non-users of Urine Diverting Dry Toilets (UDDTs), approximately 18-months apart, to determine user attitudes and practices. For the environmental samples, 20 UDDTs were seeded with known quantities of parasitic worms, and samples collected and analysed at regular intervals over a 12-month storage period to evaluate the performance of the UDDTs in the refugee camp setting. Research on additive use was undertaken in controlled lab settings by adding several combinations of lime/ash to stored waste to enhance microbial inactivation. The evaluation provided valuable insight into the current acceptability and usability of the UDDTs in Hiloweyn camp, several years into the programme and after considerable scale-up.
“Sanitation doesn’t always get the attention, or funding, it deserves even though it is fundamental to public health. This has been a unique opportunity to study UDDT use over an extended period of time in a humanitarian setting where the provision of latrines is both difficult and expensive. UDDTs are a potential alternative to latrines and documenting their use and safety is essential.”
Study findings have helped to inform additional pilots of UDDTs by Oxfam and UNHCR in other locations in Ethiopia.
We are studying the safety of these UDDTs in terms of their ability to facilitate microbial inactivation of stored feces. The principal design features of these UDDTs are an alternating,…View
We started this project in July 2014. After significant project delays due to security concerns and access issues in Dollo Ado, we worked together with our local partners, United Nations…View
Summary of the projectView
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