Professor's sanitation work in Haiti may help improve lives of poor worldwide
October 17, 2022
By Kera Abraham
We do it every day without a second thought: Close the lid, flush the toilet, and wash our hands.
In the United States, most people have access to “safely managed sanitation services”: private toilets that safely and easily dispose of waste. At the other end of the spectrum is open defecation, when people relieve themselves in fields, forests, or bodies of water.
About 673 million people practice open defecation worldwide, especially in impoverished rural areas, according to a 2020 estimate by UNICEF and the World Health Organization. The United Nations aims to end open defecation worldwide by 2025 to fight disease, poverty, and crime.
Ignacio Navarro, a professor in the CSUMB Department of Health, Human Services, and Public Policy, is evaluating an innovative, community-powered solution in rural Haiti. It’s a sanitation strategy that’s providing dignity, health, and self-sufficiency to participating households in rural Haiti, and it holds the potential to improve the lives of people living in poverty around the world.