Wednesday, 19 November 2014

International Toilet Day

By Dr. Ahmed Adamu

Out of 7 billion people in the world, 3.6 billion of them (51%) either defecate in the open or do not have access to sanitary toilets. There are 30 countries in the world where two third of their population do not have access to sanitary toilets, 20 of these are from Africa. In Eretria and Chad, only 9% of their people have access to sanitary toilets, in Ethiopia the accessibility is 13%.

Access to water and sanitation is one of the human rights that everyone should have, it not a privilege. Today (19/11/14) is the World Toilet day, and it is the day to raise awareness and take action to improve access to sanitary toilets. Many young women in the Commonwealth and beyond fall into the risk of rape and violence due to absence of toilets that offer privacy. Many of them go out of school due to lack of sanitation.

This challenge, affect the health environment of billions. One gram of “shit”(poop) carries 50 communicable diseases, 1000 parasites cysts, 1 million bacteria, 100 worm eggs and 10 million virus. Without proper sanitation especially from children, diseases can spread widely causing Diarrhea. Diarrhea kills 4,000 children every day, it kills more people than HIV/AIDS, and Tuberculosis put together, it kills more people than any ongoing wars around the world, and it is all as a result of poor sanitation or poor toilet system.

The discovery of flush toilets is the best medical advances, better than the discovery of pills, anaesthesia and surgery (British medical journal). Many countries spend more money on military and defence than on providing sanitary toilets, and yet more people die from poor sanitation.

Have you ever seen a government budget that says these funds will be spent to build or upgrade toilets either in public places, schools or homes? If you do, how much?, and how effective? . The level of poverty in some countries, may not allow some people to provide the required sanitation system, it is therefore the responsibility of government and all of us to contribute and set up a fund in every community to build sanitary toilets in schools, markets and public places, and in households.

If “shit” is to be stored safely, it can be of a benefit, it can cook your lunch. If you lock a poop at a certain temperature, and then open it later, you can generate high level of nutrients, which can be used as a gas, and this can help stop deforestation, and the source of the supply of this nutrient will be infinite.

Let us all speak today, remonstrate and raise awareness to ensure the toilet per capita is improved. An average sanitary toilet shall not be used by more than 5 people.

Happy International Toilet Day.

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