UNICEF pushes for zero open defecation

Borongan City, Eastern Samar, March 27, 2014: In its objective to ensure a life-saving primary health care services particularly for children in “Yolanda” stricken areas, the United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF) in partnership with OXFAM, is now in thick  preparation for the campaign against open defecation. 

The two humanitarian organizations  campaign for “Zero Open Defecation”(ZOD) which  aims to encourage barangays to construct toilets in order  to better ensure good health  through improved practices.

The endeavor is based on reports that indicate of several barangays in typhoon affected areas  and evacuation centers which do not have comfort rooms  and which certainly poses a great health hazard.  The report further reveals of the most common practice of toilet-less households who just “do their thing” in rivers and seashores.

“This is not being child and woman-friendly practice”, Ms. Rory Villaluna, UNICEF WASH Cluster Coordinator told the province’s municipal health officers (MHOs) and sanitary inspectors (SIs) in the Workshop-Conference held at Doña Vicenta recently. “That is why, let us put our axe together to achieve this ZOD because  UNICEF and OXFAM cannot do this alone”, she added.

She pointed out  further that toilets should be constructed in such a way that the right of  women and children  to privacy should be given primordial attention, i.e. hinges, door locks and walls are in proper order. 

The two humanitarian-group responders are set to provide the toilet construction materials on certain conditions, while local communities will do the construction work and other labor requirements. 

In the workshop that was facilitated by OXFAM, Villaluna further guided the MHOs and SIs how the ZOD campaign could be strategically implemented given some sensitivities of some local  officials and some other issues that could possibly hamper the program implementation.

She stressed further, that ZOD however does not expect a rapid turn-around in the construction of the basic home facility rather it pushes for improved toilets, from zero to temporary- communal but sanitary.  But  suggests though that communal toilets may be good only for 20-individuals or four families. 

Eventually ZOD expects targeted barangays to achieve sustained sanitation where each household maintains a   toilet, so with the schools and government buildings in the community.  It is also expected that the bodies of water and open fields are  spared of both human and animal wastes.    

After  a series of assessment and evaluation by municipal, provincial and regional health teams, the barangay with validated reports on best sanitation practices will be recognized accordingly, she concluded. 

It is encouraged then that barangay and municipal local government units pass, approve and enforce local ordinances in order to fully implement ZOD. 

The program is in-line with the Yolanda Emergency Sanitation to the Philippines Approach to Total Sanitation (Yes to PhATs). (PIA8-Eastern Samar) (Source: PIA)

01-01-1970 | Posted by Admin