• Monday C. Ukpabi Imo State University, Owerri, Imo State, Nigeria


Open Defecation, Sanitation, Cultural Constraints, Low-and Middle- Income Countries


The practice of open defecation is very prevalent in countries where a good number of the population is under-privileged and often the victims of substandard life of which women are the most affected. This practice is a condition where human faeces are disposed in fields, forests, open bodies of water, beaches or other open spaces or even disposed with solid waste like polythene bags in open places. The importance of sanitation to safeguard human health has a very good public health dimensions and access to sanitation has been very
fundamental in ensuring human dignity, health and social well-being of members of any given society. This study provided a detailed theoretical evaluation of health and social effects of open defecation on women in Nigeria. The study employed descriptive research method by explaining the relationship between poverty, ignorance, health and social challenges associated with open defecation practice among Nigerian women. It adopted a theoretical review method of explaining the concept of defecation and women; given attention to the  empowerment theory that explained some impediments to the easy access of sanitation facilities by the Nigeria
women which included the issue of poverty, ignorance, and obnoxious beliefs on defecation practice. The issue of poverty which is as a result of lack of empowerment and ignorance to the health risk associated with open defecation occasioned by lack of education, made it
difficult for women to have an improved toilet system which made them to be exposed to open defecation practice and its social and health effects. The result of the study revealed that women were always at the receiving end when there is lack of toilet facilities in any household and this situation exposed them to various adverse health related issues coupled with sexual violence, they experienced during openly defecating. It was recommended among other things that there is need for promotion of local, innovative and affordable technologies for the construction of improved toilet system coupled with the elimination of cultural constraints that limits women’s access to improved sanitation facilities.

Author Biography

Monday C. Ukpabi, Imo State University, Owerri, Imo State, Nigeria

Department of Sociology, Faculty of Social Sciences,




How to Cite

Ukpabi, M. C. (2023). OPEN DEFECATION: HEALTH AND SOCIAL EFFECTS ON NIGERIAN WOMEN. African Journal of Social and Behavioural Sciences, 13(1). Retrieved from