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Knowledge showcases

Eliminating open defecation

Sanitation safety planning Manual
Towards the elimination of open defecation in the Americas region Concept note (in spanish) Presentation (in spanish)
Sanitation and hygiene Data Display
People practicing open defecation % of population
Global Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Annual Report 2018
Mortality and incidence of diseases caused by water and sanitation See more 
Open defecation Data by country
World Toilet Day See more

Open defecation is a public health problem in the Americas and one of the main environmental risks.

Target 3.9

Substantially reduce the number of deaths and illnesses caused by hazardous chemicals and the pollution of air, water and soil

Colera - OMS / L. Pezzoli

SDG 3 on Health and Well-being determines that ensuring a healthy life and promoting the well-being of all people at all ages is fundamental to the achievement of sustainable development. In this regard, when assessing indicator 3.9.2, important progress has been made in reducing the mortality rate, as well as in increasing access to water and sanitation services in Latin America and the Caribbean; however, it is essential to eliminate the practice of open defecation, which causes a large number of diseases, especially for vulnerable populations. In this regard, a joint, intersectoral effort is needed to completely eradicate a wide range of diseases and factors associated with human health, as well as the lack of sanitation service, in all areas, contexts, and ages.

Indicator 3.9.2. Mortality rate attributed to unsafe water, unsafe sanitation and lack of hygiene (exposure to unsafe Water, Sanitation and Hygiene for All (WASH) services)



Target 6.2

Achieve access to adequate and equitable sanitation and hygiene for all and end open defecation, paying special attention to the needs of women and girls and those in vulnerable situations


Inadequate sanitation adversely affects the health of people, and even more so those who are considered part of the vulnerable population. Studies on this topic determine that efforts to eliminate the practice of open defecation are essential to achieve target 6.2, which will ensure that by 2030, access to adequate and equitable sanitation and hygiene services for all must be achieved and open defecation must be stopped, paying special attention to the needs of women and girls, as well as those in vulnerable situations. The elimination of open defecation represents a central objective for the population to have access to at least basic sanitation, which determines a better level of well-being for the general population.

Agua Paho ETRAS Blog

Indicator 6.2.1 - Proportion of population using safely managed sanitation services, including a handwashing facility with soap and water

The situation of countries




Puerto Rico

República Dominicana