2005 Waterkeyn J & Cairncross S – SS & M

JOURNAL: Social Science and Medicine 

ISSUE: 61.

Pages: 1958-1970

YEAR: 2005

AUTHORS: Waterkeyn, J & Cairncross, S. 

TITLE: Creating a demand for sanitation through Community Health Clubs:  a cost effective intervention in two districts of Zimbabwe

POSTER: 2002_Royalsoc_poster.pdf



Unless strategies are found to galvanise rural communities and create a demand for sanitation, we cannot achieve the Millennium Development Goal of halving the 2.4 billion people without sanitation by the year 2015. This study describes an innovative methodology used in Zimbabwe – Community Health Clubs – which significantly changed hygiene behaviour and build rural demand for sanitation.

In one year in Makoni District, 1,244 health sessions were held by 14 trainers, costing an average of US$0.21 per beneficiary and involving 11,450 club members (68,700 beneficiaries). In Tsholotsho District, 2,105 members participated in 182 health promotion sessions held by 3 trainers which cost US$ 0.55 for each of the 12,630 beneficiaries.

Within two years, 2,400 latrines had been built in Makoni, and in Tsholotsho latrine coverage rose to 43% contrasted to 2% in the control area, with 1,200 latrines being built in 18 months. Although Zimbabwe has historically relied on subsidies to stimulate sanitation, this intervention shows how total sanitation could be achievable; the remaining 57% Club members without latrines in Tsholotsho all practised faecal burial, a method previously unknown to them.

Club members’ hygiene was significantly different (p < 0.0001) from a control group regarding 17 key hygiene practices including hand washing, showing that if a strong community structure is developed and the norms of a community are altered, sanitation and hygiene behaviour are likely to improve. This methodology could be scaled up to contribute to ambitious global targets.

CONTACT: Dr. Juliet Waterkeyn

UNIVERSITY: Prof Sandy Cairncross, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicne