Claire A. Rosato-Scott
There is little information on the management of incontinence in low-income settings. This article provides some initial insights, of particular relevance to water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) and health practitioners, into the coping strategies used by sufferers and carers in Zambia. Incontinence is rarely reported to medical professionals in Zambia, possibly due to a reluctance to disclose as a result of the stigma associated with the condition. Management and treatment of incontinence is subsequently limited, and both coping strategies and treatment received are determined by affordability and accessibility. If the global community is to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals of universal sanitation (Goal 6) and well-being (Goal 3), future studies and programmes on incontinence in Zambia will need to involve collaborations between WASH and health practitioners that investigate how to reduce the stigma associated with the condition and increase awareness, and how to improve the availability and affordability of management and treatment, considering the potential preference for traditional medicine in rural communities.
This scoping study aimed to be the first to explore the number of children aged 5 to 12 in an emergency setting (Tukaley village, Ethiopia) wetting themselves, and demand for support to manage self-wetting in the home. A survey asked 524 children about their latrine behaviours; and 312 adult caregivers about the latrine behaviours of the children aged 5 to 12 they care for. Few adult caregivers (1 per cent) indicated that children were self-wetting during the day and/or night, and only one child indicated self-wetting (during the day). Yet the survey revealed demand from adult caregivers for household items typically used to manage involuntary self-wetting. This could suggest self-wetting is occurring, but there is a reluctance to disclose it. Given the impact of self-wetting on the lives of children and their adult caregivers, it would be unethical for it not to be considered when developing emergency programmes across sectors including the water, sanitation, and hygiene sector. With further research and modifications to the survey, it could provide greater clarity on the number of children self-wetting and the scale of demand for support to inform emergency programme design.