World Toilet Day paves the way for improved sanitation
Today, there are 2 billion people lacking access to toilet facilities and about half of these reside in South-East Asia, posing a particular health risk to females and children. Poor sanitation can lead to illnesses such as diarrhoea, typhoid, malnutrition and polio. Earlier this year, the United Nations emphasized the importance of sanitation and hygiene by declaring 19 November as World Toilet Day.
Data from 2010 showed that in South-East Asia, 39% of people defecated in the open and whilst this number is high, it is a noteworthy improvement on the figure of 60% from 20 years earlier. This improvement occurred despite regional population growth and periodic financial constraints.
With the emphasis in recent times being on the provision of clean drinking water, sanitation has taken a back seat. This despite the fact that both are linked - sanitation, safe drinking water and hygiene must all go hand in hand or in an integrated manner to get maximal health benefits. Furthermore, there are financial incentives to invest in sanitation, with research suggesting that every US dollar invested is estimated to give a return of about US $5.5.
For more details on the issues, including additional Indian information, please read Dr Samlee Plianbangchang, Regional Director, WHO South-East Asia Region’s message, accessible via the link below.
Water contamination from micro- biological agents and chemical agents causes morbidity and mortality. Microorganisms outbreaks of cholera, dysentery, hepatitis and crypto- sporidiosis. Organisms also include bacterial pathogens, viral pathogens, protozoans, helminths and toxic cyanobacteria which cause morbidity among populations.
Ms Payden Regional Adviser Water & Sanitation World Health Organization Regional Office for South-East Asia World Health House Indraprastha Estate Mahatma Gandhi Marg New Delhi 110 002, India email: email@example.com