Improved sanitation

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The terms "improved sanitation" and "unimproved sanitation" were coined by the Joint Monitoring Program (JMP) for Water Supply and Sanitation to help monitor the progress towards Goal Number 7 of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).


Improved sanitation[edit]

An improved sanitation facility is defined as one that hygienically separates human excreta from human contact.[1]

To allow for international comparability of estimates for monitoring the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), the World Health Organization/UNICEF Joint Monitoring Program (JMP) for Water Supply and Sanitation defines "improved" sanitation as follows:[1]

Unimproved sanitation[edit]

Sanitation facilities that are not considered as "improved" (also called "unimproved") are:

  • Public or shared latrine
  • Flush/pour flush to elsewhere (not into a pit, septic tank, or sewer)
  • Pit latrine without slab
  • Bucket latrines
  • Hanging toilet / latrine
  • No facilities / bush / field (open defecation)


  1. ^ a b WHO and UNICEF (2012) Improved and unimproved water and sanitation facilities, WHO, Geneva and UNICEF, New York, accessed on 15 June 2015