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Over 50 million Pinoys without access to toilets
According to the DOH, around 50.3 million Filipinos or about 10 million families do not have access to “safely managed sanitation services”; and of the number, some 24 million use limited or unimproved toilets or none at all.
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Over 50 million Pinoys without access to toilets

(The Philippine Star) - November 20, 2020 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — More than 50 million Filipinos are still without access to toilets, prompting health experts to warn that such conditions could easily lead to another epidemic in the country.

According to the DOH, around 50.3 million Filipinos or about 10 million families do not have access to “safely managed sanitation services”; and of the number, some 24 million use limited or unimproved toilets or none at all.

DOH defines safely managed sanitation as the use of improved toilet facilities which are not shared with other households and where the excreta are safely disposed on-site, or are transported and treated off-site.

“Let us not wait for another outbreak or pandemic before we prioritize sanitation,” UNICEF representative Oyunsaikhan Dendevnorov said.

“The recent typhoons in the Philippines have shown how vulnerable our toilets and the sanitation systems they are connected to are,” he added.

The UNICEF official said the negative impact of the lack of proper sanitation will worsen with increasing climate change.

Health Secretary Francisco Duque said the problem of sanitation can be readily solved by investing in available technologies and approaches.

“Only by leveraging government resources with household investments and private sector support would we be able to reach as many communities in the fastest time possible. We have seen this partnership at work for COVID-19, we must do the same for sanitation,” Duque said in a statement.

World Health Organization (WHO) country representative Rabindra Abeyasinghe said implementing the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) on sanitation requires a huge investment, but inaction brings greater costs.

“Untreated waste from poor sanitation services has negative effects on the environment and can spread diseases that cause poor health and nutrition, loss of income, decreased productivity and missed educational opportunities,” he said.

The country needs P30 billion annually to reach the national target of universal access to sanitation. The amount is 13 percent of the additional internal revenue allotment that local government units will receive by 2022, valued at P225.3 billion per year.

DOH urged local government units and key stakeholders to make every effort to ensure that sanitation coverage extends to entire communities in all settings and not just households.

Based on the 2019 Field Health Services Information System, one-third of the 42,046 barangays in the Philippines have been certified as having abandoned the practice of open defecation in their communities.

Despite the progress, DOH said only six percent of the 1,634 cities and municipalities in the country have achieved municipal-wide Zero Open Defecation (ZOD) status, which is Grade 1 sanitation certification.

Also yesterday, the DOH warned the public against the possible outbreak of waterborne and foodborne illnesses due to the recent typhoons that struck the country.

“We are very wary of possible outbreak of communicable, waterborne and vector-borne diseases after disasters, especially now with a pandemic that may pose a complex situation,” Duque said.

He said that before the onset of the rainy season, the DOH issued guidelines to its regional offices to prepare contingency measures to combat “WILD,” which stands for Water-borne infectious diseases, Influenza, Leptospirosis and Dengue.

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