Household Characteristics and Utilization of Toilet Facilities in Ghana: A Multinomial Logistic Approach


Edmund Ayesu
Emmanuel Sefa Owusu
Celestina Asante


Utilization of improved toilet facilities is crucial to achieving targets of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).  The MDG framework that touched on universal education, women and children as well as environment and sanitation are affected directly by a basic facility of life, the toilet.  However, toilet utilization is not a well-researched area in Ghana. Studies on the subject matter have focused on barriers to utilization, preferences and financing whilst the influences of household characteristics on utilization have not been adequately covered. This study therefore sought to fill the gap in the empirical literature and as well contribute to on-going policies aimed at promoting utilization of improved toilet facilities in Ghana. The study was based on a sample size of 247,885 obtained from the Ghana Population and Housing Census data (GSS, 2010). Multinomial logistic model was used for the analysis. The results revealed that married couple family households headed by  male were about three and half folds as likely to resort to open defecation  as compared to use of improved toilet facilities, all other variables remaining the same (exp(B) = 3.315;p<0.0001, Table 2). Also Married couple family households headed by female were 43% more likely to use open defecation than improved toilet facilities all other factors remaining unchanged (exp(B)=1.431, p<0.0001, Table 2).When we controlled for "Household size”, "economic activity” and "housing tenancy”, the results changed.  Married couple family household, headed by male were 71.7% more likely to use open defecation than improved toilet facilities (exp (B) = 1.717, p < 0.0001, Table 4). On the other hand married couple family household headed by female were almost 12% less likely to use open defecation as compared to improved toilet facilities, all other factors remaining the same (exp (B) =0.882, p < 0.0001, Table 4).Gender of family headship had significant influence on utilization of improved latrines and therefore policies and programs targeted at improving utilization should be gender sensitive. Finally, household income, wealth and size mediate positively the likelihood of improved toilet utilization however, these effects were more pronounced with female headed households than that of males.


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