Bangladesh has made remarkable progress to in eliminating the practice of open defecation. But climbing the ‘sanitation ladder’ still represents a challenge.
Access to sanitation remains moderate at 55.9 per cent. In Bangladesh, there is a high proportion of shared toilets particularly in urban slums, said the 2013 MICS survey.
The knowledge of key hygiene messages is high in Bangladesh, but the practice of effective handwashing, the most effective hygiene behaviour, is very low.
Just about 59.1 per cent of people practice handwashing with water and soap at critical times, found the 2013 UNICEF survey.
Conventional sewerage systems are absent in all urban areas except Dhaka. But even in the capital city, only 1 in 5 people are served by a sewer network.
The safe disposal of faecal matter generated in rural and urban areas is recognised as a major challenge by the Bangladesh government.
Only about two out of five households practice safe disposal of child faeces, despite implications that lead to illness and death of children. One in four pit latrines is unhygienic and without lids to seal away faeces from the environment.
There are solid links among diarrhoeal diseases, stunting and sanitation. Unimproved sanitation can lead to faecally transmitted infections like diarrhoea, intestinal inflammation and worms.