Masvingo and Matebeleland North provinces have recorded the highest number of householders using bush toilet facility.
The findings were unearthed in the recently conducted 2022 population and housing census which also established that 20% of Zimbabwe’s households do not have any toilet facility.
Most of the households (38. 2%) used the flush toilet system. On one hand, a significant 19.8 percent of the households did not use any toilet facility, while on the other hand, 15.6 percent used the Ventilated Improved Pit (VIP) latrines.
Matabeleland North and Masvingo Provinces had the largest proportion of households who practiced open defecation. In the two provinces, such households constituted 50 percent and 35 percent respectively.
1,458,267 or 38.2% households have flush system, 596,998 or 15.6% ventilated improved pit latrine, 689,586 or 18% pit latrine with slab, 261,179 or 6.8% open pit latrine/without slab, 25,566 or 0.7% compositing toilet, 21,561 or 0.6% bucket toilet, 759,992 or 19.8% have no toilet facility while 10,337 more or 0.3% use other toilet means.
Open defecation facilitates the transmission of pathogens that cause diarrhoeal diseases, which is the second leading contributor to the global burden of disease.
The latest Zimbabwe Vulnerability Assessment Committee (ZimVAC) report
also revealed that more than 50 percent of families in Matabeleland North province do not have access to toilets and relieve themselves in bushes.
The province was reported to have a dire shortage of ablution facilities, with Binga (67%), Lupane (61%), and Tsholotsho (52%) districts being the most affected.
“27% of rural households practiced open defecation. Matabeleland North (50%) had the highest proportion of households practicing open defecation,” further reads the report.
“Most districts in Matebeleland North had over 50 percent of households practicing open defecation. Open defecation in Matabeleland North has been constantly high over the years.”
The report noted that Nkayi, which used to top the list of districts affected by open defecation in the province, has greatly improved, following various interventions from developmental partners such as World Vision.
According to World Health Organization (WHO) and United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) Joint monitoring program (JMP) 2021 reports, 494 million people practice open defecation 2 . Most (92%) of these people lived in rural areas and nearly half of them lived in sub-Saharan Africa