Environmental hygiene in outdoor food markets in Africa: a scoping review

Anisha Nijhawan, Sophie Budge, Olivia Reddy, James Bartram, Guy Howard

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review


Outdoor food markets represent important locations where foodborne illnesses and other infectious diseases can spread. Countries in Africa face particular challenges given the importance of these markets in food supply and low rates of access to safely managed water and sanitation. We undertook a scoping review of evidence related to disease transmission in food markets in sub-Saharan Africa, North Africa and identified 46 papers for data extraction and synthesis. Vendor behaviour or awareness was reported in the majority of papers and about half reported on market infrastructure. Fewer studies have been reported on regulatory environments or food contamination. Studies on water supply, sanitation and handwashing facilities focused on the presence of services and did not evaluate quality, thus conclusions cannot be drawn on service adequacy. Studies of vendor behaviour were primarily based on self-reporting and subject to bias. Most studies reported high levels of vendor awareness of the need for hygiene, but where observations were also conducted, these showed lower levels of behaviours in practice. Our findings suggest that there are limited studies on environmental hygiene in outdoor food markets and this is an area warranting further research, including into the quality of services and addressing methodological weaknesses.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)276-288
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Water, Sanitation and Hygiene for Development
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 21 Mar 2023

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The review was funded by SNV Netherlands. The funder had no role in the design of the scoping review.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 The Authors.

Structured keywords

  • Water and Environmental Engineering


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