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High-Resolution Spatial Distribution and Estimation of Access to Improved Sanitation in Kenya

High-Resolution Spatial Distribution and Estimation of Access to Improved Sanitation in Kenya. PLoS One, July 2016. Authors: Peng Jia , John D. Anderson, Michael Leitner, Richard Rheingans

Background – Access to sanitation facilities is imperative in reducing the risk of multiple adverse health outcomes. A distinct disparity in sanitation exists among different wealth levels in many low-income countries, which may hinder the progress across each of the Millennium Development Goals.

Methods – The surveyed households in 397 clusters from 2008–2009 Kenya Demographic and Health Surveys were divided into five wealth quintiles based on their national asset scores. A series of spatial analysis methods including excess risk, local spatial autocorrelation, and spatial interpolation were applied to observe disparities in coverage of improved sanitation among different wealth categories. The total number of the population with improved sanitation was estimated by interpolating, time-adjusting, and multiplying the surveyed coverage rates by high-resolution population grids. A comparison was then made with the annual estimates from United Nations Population Division and World Health Organization /United Nations Children’s Fund Joint Monitoring Program for Water Supply and Sanitation.

Results – The Empirical Bayesian Kriging interpolation produced minimal root mean squared error for all clusters and five quintiles while predicting the raw and spatial coverage rates of improved sanitation. The coverage in southern regions was generally higher than in the north and east, and the coverage in the south decreased from Nairobi in all directions, while Nyanza and North Eastern Province had relatively poor coverage. The general clustering trend of high and low sanitation improvement among surveyed clusters was confirmed after spatial smoothing.

Conclusions – There exists an apparent disparity in sanitation among different wealth categories across Kenya and spatially smoothed coverage rates resulted in a closer estimation of the available statistics than raw coverage rates. Future intervention activities need to be tailored for both different wealth categories and nationally where there are areas of greater needs when resources are limited.