Burden and Determinants of Open Defecation: The Reality across the Rural and Urban Areas of Osun State, Southwest Nigeria

Download Article

DOI: 10.21522/TIJPH.2013.10.02.Art022

Authors : Onyemaechi S.B, Akinyemi P.A, Aribodor D.N, Fajobi O, Okoro N.E.


The burden of open defecation remains a challenge in Nigeria despite various interventions targeted at ensuring uptake of sanitary means of sewage disposal. This study aimed at determining the factors that influence the practice of open defecation in the rural and urban communities of Osun State. A comparative cross-sectional study design was employed. Two hundred and ninety-nine households were enrolled in the rural and 299 households from urban local government, using multistage sampling technique. Data were collected using an interviewer-administered questionnaire and a checklist was used to assess the sanitation of the house. Determinants of open defecation were assessed using binary logistic regression. The burden of open defecation is more in rural areas both at home and when away from home 31.1% and 37.8% respectively; compared with urban areas, indoor, 8.4%, and away from home, 11.7%. Households in rural areas are four times more likely to practice open defecation than those in the urban area (Odds ratio = 3.9, p <0.001). Likelihood of practice of open defecation declined with level of education of male head and increase in wealth index of households. House ownership reduced the likelihood of practicing open defecation by 2.5 (odds ratio = 0.4, p = 0.015). There is a need for more efforts focused especially on the rural areas to achieve the eradication of open defecation in Nigeria. There is a need to promote having toilets in the house especially in rural areas where a significant proportion still lacks access to toilets.

Keywords: Open defecation, Osun State, rural-urban, sewage disposal.


[1] Excreta-related infections and the role of sanitation in the control of the transmission. Retrieved from https://www.who.int/water_sanitation_health/dwq/iwachap5.pdf.

[2] Park K. (2015) Park’s Textbook of Preventive and Social Medicine, 23rd edn. New Delhi: Bhanot.

[3] Sanitation. Retrieved from https://washdata.org/monitoring/sanitation.

[4] WHO, UNICEF (2017) Progress on Drinking Water, Sanitation and Hygiene:2017 Update and SDG Baselines. In. Geneva: WHO.

[5] Making Nigeria open defecation free by 2025: A national road map. Retrieved from https://www.unicef.org/nigeria/reports/making-nigeria-open-defecation-free-2025-national-road-map.

[6] Abubakar I.R. (2018). Exploring the determinants of open defecation in Nigeria using demographic and health survey data. J Science of the total environment, 637:1455-1465.

[7] Osumanu I.K,, Kosoe E.A., Ategeeng F. (2019). Determinants of open defecation in the Wa municipality of Ghana: empirical findings were highlighting socio-cultural and economic dynamics among households. Journal of environmental public health, 2019.

[8] Yulyani V., Febriani C.A., Shaharuddin M., Hermawan D. (2021): Patterns and Determinants of Open Defecation among Urban People. Jurnal Kesehatan Masyarakat Nasional, 16(1).

[9] Temesgen A, Molla Adane M, Birara A, Shibabaw T (2021): Having a latrine facility is not a guarantee for eliminating open defecation owing to socio-demographic and environmental factors: The case of Machakel district in Ethiopia. PLOS ONE, 16(9):e0257813.

[10] National Bureau of Statistics (2019). National Outcome routine mapping of water, sanitation, and hygiene services level Nigeria. Edited by National Bureau of Statistics. Abuja Nigeria.

[11] Osun State Water Corporation (2018): Pipe-borne water coverage in Osun State. In. Osun State: Osun State Water Corporation.

[12] National Population Commission (NPC), ICF (2019): Nigeria Demographic and Health Survey 2018. In. Edited by (NPC) NPC. Abuja, Nigeria.: NPC and ICF.

[13] Federal Ministry of Water Resources, National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), and UNICEF (2020). Water, Sanitation, Hygiene National Outcome Routine Mapping (WASH NORM) 2019: A Report of Findings. In. Edited by Resources Federal Ministry of Water Resources. Abuja Nigeria.

[14] Setiyo Nugroho P, Wiarisa H, Wulandari M. (2019): Education Level And Knowledge Level In Open Defecation Behavior. Journal of Research in Public Health, 1(2): 109-112.

[15] Osumanu I.K., Kosoe E.A., Ategeeng F. (2019). Determinants of Open Defecation in the Wa Municipality of Ghana: Empirical Findings Highlighting Socio-cultural and Economic Dynamics among Households. Journal of Environmental and Public Health, 2019:3075840.

[16] Panda P., Chandrakar A., Soni G. (2017): Prevalence of open-air defecation and awareness and practices of sanitary latrine usage in a rural village of Raipur district. International Journal Of Community Medicine And Public Health, 4:3279.

[17] Raihan M.J., Farzana F.D., Sultana S., Haque M.A., Rahman A.S., Waid J.L., McCormick B., Choudhury N., Ahmed T. (2017) Examining the relationship between socio-economic status, WASH practices, and wasting. PLOS ONE, 12(3):e0172134.

[18] Odagiri M., Muhammad Z., Cronin A.A., Gnilo M.E., Mardikanto A.K., Umam K., Asamou Y.T.
(2017). Enabling factors for sustaining open defecation-free communities in rural Indonesia: a cross-sectional study. International journal of environmental research public health, 14(12):1572.

[19] Abubakar I.R. (2018). Exploring the determinants of open defecation in Nigeria using demographic and health survey data. Science of The Total Environment, 637-638:1455-1465.

[20] Saraswat D: Gender Composition of Children and Sanitation Behavior In India. 2019.

[21] Kuang J, Ashraf S, Shpenev A, Delea MG, Das U, Bicchieri C (2020). Women are more likely to expect social sanctions for open defecation: Evidence from Tamil Nadu India. Plos One, 15(10):e0240477.

[22] EP A, Negi DP, Mishra A (2019). Women’s Experiences of Defecating in the Open: A Qualitative Study. J Indian Journal of Gender Studies, 26(1-2):160-170.

[23] Saleem M, Burdett T, Heaslip V. (2019). Health and social impacts of open defecation on women: a systematic review. BMC Public Health, 19(1):158.