Prevention of human exposure to livestock faecal waste in the household: a scoping study of interventions conducted in sub-Saharan Africa


Poorly managed animal faecal waste can result in detrimental environmental and public health implications. Limiting human exposure to animal waste through Animal inclusive Water Sanitation and Hygiene (A-WASH) strategies is imperative to improve public health in livestock keeping households but has received little attention to date. A small number of A-WASH interventions have previously been identified through a systematic review by another research team, and published in 2017. To inform intervention design with the most up-to-date information, a scoping study was conducted to map the existing evidence for A-WASH in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) emerging since the previous review.

This review followed PRISMA guidelines to identify interventions in SSA published between January 2016 to October 2022. Databases searched included PubMed, PMC Europe, CabDirect and Web of Science. Studies were eligible for inclusion if they were written in English and documented interventions limiting human contact with animal faecal material in the SSA context. Key data extracted included: the intervention itself, its target population, cost, measure of effectiveness, quantification of effect, assessment of success, acceptability and limitations. These data were synthesized into a narrative, structured around the intervention type.

Eight eligible articles were identified. Interventions to reduce human exposure to animal faecal matter were conducted in combination with ‘standard’ human-centric WASH practices. Identified interventions included the management of human-animal co-habitation, educational programs and the creation of child-safe spaces. No novel A-WASH interventions were identified in this review, beyond those identified by the review in 2017. Randomised Controlled Trials (RCTs) were used to evaluate six of the eight identified interventions, but as effect was evaluated through various measures, the ability to formally compare efficacy of interventions is lacking.

This study indicates that the number of A-WASH studies in SSA is increasing and the use of RCTs suggests a strong desire to create high-quality evidence within this field. There is a need for standardisation of effect measures to enable meta-analyses to be conducted to better understand intervention effectiveness. Evaluation of scalability and sustainability of interventions is still lacking in A – WASH research.


Sentamu, D.N., Kungu, J., Dione, M. and Thomas, L.F. 2023. Prevention of human exposure to livestock faecal waste in the household: a scoping study of interventions conducted in sub-Saharan Africa. BMC Public Health 23: 1613.


  • Sentamu, Derrick N.
  • Kungu, J.
  • Dione, Michel M.
  • Thomas, Lian F.