More provinces needed to end open defecation
Open defecation in communities especially in fields and waterways, can lead to diseases such as diarrhea and worm infections, and undernourishment and stunting in children.
ILOILO CITY, 18 November 2022 – Almost one in four barangays in the Philippines have been certified as Zero Open Defecation (ZOD), with families in these communities having access to safe toilets and abandoning the practice of open defecation.
While progress has been made in several municipalities and cities across the country, the 2021 Field Health Services Information System (FHSIS) report shows that 6.3 million households still use unsanitary toilets or practice open defecation. Open defecation in communities especially in fields and waterways, can lead to diseases such as diarrhea and worm infections, and undernourishment and stunting in children.
In Iloilo province, over 2 million women, men and children have abandoned open defecation, showing a decreasing trend of acute watery diarrhea and acute gastroenteritis cases. This feat has earned the province the recognition of being the first province in Western Visayas to be certified ZOD status.
“Being proclaimed as a Province-wide Certified ZOD is a very long process that has required years of investment and the will of its leaders. For the Province of Iloilo to achieve this accomplishment speaks greatly about the long-term commitment of the LGUs of Iloilo led by our governor, Arthur Defensor Jr., together with our municipal Mayors. It is truly an amazing achievement for the Western Visayas Region,” says Adriano P. Suba-an, Regional Director of DOH Western Visayas.
On the occasion of the World Toilet Day, Iloilo renewed its commitment to continue prioritizing sanitation programs to reach Grade 2 basic sanitation level.
“There’s still a lot more work ahead for us. To reach G2 by 2028, it requires ensuring toilets and handwashing facilities are available anywhere Ilonggos go to in our community -- whether in schools, health centers, day care centers and other public places. At the minimum, we would need at least 167 million pesos to subsidize the cost of building a toilet, and we can only achieve this with the continued support of our local chief executives and development partners,” says Arthur Defensor Jr., Provincial Governor of Iloilo.
Lixil is donating 1,250 SATO pans to Iloilo province as part of the partnership with UNICEF to make affordable and appropriately designed toilets available to communities. Currently, there are over 137 schools in the province that do not have gender segregated toilets and 16,730 households that are sharing a toilet with another household.
“With Philippines living through the effects of climate change, toilets and sanitation systems must be built or adapted to cope with extreme weather events, so that they remain functional and groundwater is protected. We cannot undermine the benefits of having something so basic as safe toilets. Particularly for women and girls, toilets at home, school and at work help them stay healthy and safe, especially during menstruation and pregnancy,” says Oyunsaikhan Dendevnorov, UNICEF Representative.
Iloilo province started implementing ZOD in 2014, months after typhoon Yolanda devastated parts of the province and left thousands of households without access to safe toilets. With support from UNICEF, the first 40 barangays in 8 municipalities were declared ZOD by 2015. The Provincial Government has since allotted 5 million pesos yearly to subsidize the cost of building a toilet.
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World Toilet Day celebration
Iloilo Province and PhATSS implementation
Chief of Communication
Tel: +63 917 867 8366
Darlene Antonette De La Peña
Department of Health Western Visayas Center for Health Development
Tel: +63 942 0838 522
Jose Nereo Lujan
Province of Iloilo - Public Information and Community Affairs Office
Tel: +63 33 328 7910 / 328 7900 (Loc. 110)