Open defecation is practiced by more than one billion people throughout the world and leads to significant public health issues including infectious disease transmission and stunted growth in children. Zambia implemented community-led total sanitation (CLTS) as an intervention to eliminate open defecation in rural areas. To support CLTS and the attainment of open defecation free communities, chiefs were considered key agents of change and were empowered to drive CLTS and improve sanitation for their chiefdom. Chiefs were provided with data on access to sanitation in the chiefdom during chiefdom orientations prior to the initiation of CLTS within each community and encouraged to make goals of universal sanitation access within the community. Using a survival regression, we found that where chiefs were orientated and mobilized in CLTS, the probability that a village would achieve 100% coverage of adequate sanitation increased by 23% (hazard ratio = , 95% confidence interval = –, P = ). Using an interrupted time series, we found a 30% increase in the number of individuals with access to adequate sanitation following chiefdom orientations (95% confidence interval = –%). The mobilization and support of chiefs greatly improved the uptake of CLTS, and empowering them with increased CLTS knowledge and authority of the program in their chiefdom allowed chiefs to closely monitor village sanitation progress and follow-up with their headmen/headwomen. These key agents of change are important facilitators of public health goals such as the elimination of open defecation in Zambia by 2020.
The In the Clinic® slide sets are owned and copyrighted by the American College of Physicians (ACP). All text, graphics, trademarks, and other intellectual property incorporated into the slide sets remain the sole and exclusive property of the ACP. The slide sets may be used only by the person who downloads or purchases them and only for the purpose of presenting them during not-for-profit educational activities. Users may incorporate the entire slide set or selected individual slides into their own teaching presentations but may not alter the content of the slides in any way or remove the ACP copyright notice. Users may make print copies for use as hand-outs for the audience the user is personally addressing but may not otherwise reproduce or distribute the slides by any means or media, including but not limited to sending them as e-mail attachments, posting them on Internet or Intranet sites, publishing them in meeting proceedings, or making them available for sale or distribution in any unauthorized form, without the express written permission of the ACP. Unauthorized use of the In the Clinic slide sets will constitute copyright infringement.