Rapid, unplanned urbanisation in low-income countries is leading to increasing problems of dealing with human waste. On-site sanitation systems are often rudimentary, unhygienic, and poorly maintained.
In-depth, on-site interactive interviews were conducted with 33 landlords and 33 tenants in a neighbourhood in peri-urban Lusaka to understand on-site, shared sanitation quality improvement behaviors and preferences. Respondents were asked about housing characteristics, toilet histories, and financial decision-making.
Improved, shared toilets were common (79%), but many were of low quality and poorly cleaned. Poor coordination among tenants, barriers to communication between landlords and tenants, and landlords viewing sanitation as a required basic service to provide instead of something for which tenants will pay more rent all limit the quality of sanitation in this setting. Landlord-directed interventions targeting non-health motivations for sanitation improvement and introducing effective cleaning systems may increase peri-urban sanitation quality.