Water, sanitation and hygiene practices among adult women in a rural area of Kolar district, South India: a community based survey

Nagesh Ramya, Mahendra M. Reddy, Prasanna B. T. Kamath


Background: In developing countries, monitoring and assessing the change in water, sanitation and hygiene (WaSH) practices still remains to be a challenge especially in rural areas. The objective of the study was to assess the practices related to WaSH and factors associated with good WaSH practices among rural adult women belonging to Kolar district of Karnataka, India.

Methods: A community based cross-sectional study was conducted in a village of Kolar district during July - October 2018. Socio-demographic details and water related characteristics were collected from an adult female of the household using a pre-tested semi-structured interview schedule. The WaSH practices were captured using a set of 15 questions designed after a thorough literature search. WaSH score was categorised into good practice or not based on cut-off value of WaSH score ≥third quartile.

Results: Out of total 108 households enlisted a total of 82 households (76%) comprising of 464 individuals was surveyed. The number of people reporting good WaSH practices was 40 (48.8%). Multivariable logistic regression model containing all independent variables studied showed statistical significance with respect to family type alone (nuclear family having statistically significance compared to three generation family; Odds ratio (95% Confidence Interval) =11.9 (2.7-52.0).

Conclusions: One in two women had good WaSH practice and among the individual components use of soap after defecation was practiced in less than one in ten women under study.



Gender equality, Sustainable development goal, Water, sanitation and hygiene

Full Text:



United Nations. Transforming our world: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. New York, United States of America: 2015.

United Nations. Sustainable Development Goals: Knowledge Platform. Available at: https://sustai Accessed on 8 April 2020.

International Institute for Population Sciences. India Fact Sheet: National Family Health Survey (NFHS-4) 2015-16. New Delhi, India. 2016.

Gender & Development Network. Achieving gender equality through WASH. London, United Kingdom: 2016.

Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation, Government of India. Swachh Bharat Mission - Gramin. Available at: http://swachhbharatmission. Accessed on 8 April 2020.

Sharma S, Mehra D, Brusselaers N, Mehra S. Menstrual hygiene preparedness among schools in india: A systematic review and meta-analysis of system-and policy-level actions. Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2020;17(2):647.

McMichael C. Water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) in schools in low-income countries: A review of evidence of impact. Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2019;16(3).

Chattopadhyay A, Sethi V, Nagargoje VP, Saraswat A, Surani N, Agarwal N, et al. WASH practices and its association with nutritional status of adolescent girls in poverty pockets of eastern India. BMC Womens Health. 2019;19(1):89.

Rah JH, Cronin AA, Badgaiyan B, Aguayo V, Coates S, Ahmed S. Household sanitation and personal hygiene practices are associated with child stunting in rural India: A cross-sectional analysis of surveys. BMJ Open. 2015;5(2).

Ramya N, Reddy MM, Kamath PBT. Household “rain water harvesting” - Who are practicing? Why are they practicing? A mixed methods study from rural area of Kolar district, South India. J Fam Med Prim Care. 2019;8(7):2528-32.

International Institute for Population Sciences. India Fact Sheet: National Family Health Survey (NFHS-4) 2015-16 - District Fact Sheet Kolar Karnataka. 2016.

Naandi Foundation. The HUNGaMA (Hunger and Malnutrition) survey report 2011. Hyderabad, India: 2011.

Brand RA. Editorial: Standards of Reporting: The CONSORT, QUORUM, and STROBE Guidelines. Clin Orthop Relat Res. 2009;467(6):1393-4.