LMU Klinikum
Center for International Health CIHLMU
CIHLMU is a center at LMU Klinikum

Fecal Exposure

"One health assessment of human and animal fecal exposure, determinants, and its management among rural households in Ethiopia and Ghana: Implications for the conventional water, sanitation, and hygiene approaches" Fecal Exposure is one of the selected One Health Funds projects for 2023.

Poorly managed human and animal faecal wastes are considered as one of the most important environmental pollutant due to its high potential to spread disease-causing pathogens with a potential outbreak. Ethiopia is a predominantly rural country (85% of 110 million people) with the largest livestock of any African country, producing a huge amount of fecal waste that poses a significant risk to human health. Small-scale animal husbandry, cohabiting with animals and sharing the same water sources, using livestock waste as fertilizer, polishing walls and floors with wet cow dung are some of the most widespread practice in the rural areas. Furthermore, only 10% of rural residents use improved toilet facilities, while only 61% have access to improved water sources. Similar circumstances exist in Ghana, where only 8% of rural residents have access to improved sanitation facilities. Both Ethiopia and Ghana implemented the WASH and Community-Led Total Sanitation and Hygiene Initiative to end open-defication and expand access to WASH facilities. However, these approaches exclusively focused on human faecal waste and arguably neglected the significant public health concerns posed by animal feces. Currently, there is no sufficient data on the burden and health risks associated with poorly managed animal feces in both countries. As a result, policy makers continue to be largely unaware of the extent of health risk associated with exposure to animal faeces and its poor management. Efforts to improve WASH are most impactful when they employ a One Health approach. This study would, therefore, take a one-health approach to evaluating WASH and determining the burden of human and animal faecal exposure.