Sanitation crisis touches every moment of every child’s life

19 Nov 2014 | Nepal

In an open letter to the Secretary-General of the United Nations, Ban Ki Moon, over 620,000 health professionals globally (including 162 medical and health professionals from Nepal) have called to end the desperate waste of life caused by people not having access to a basic toilet.

The letter, coordinated by the international development organization WaterAid, has been published to coincide with World Toilet Day.

The solidarity comes at the time when the South Asian leaders are meeting for 18th SAARC Summit in formulating new development goals.

Similarly, WaterAid Nepal (WAN) in collaboration with national and regional Right to Sanitation Campaign Coordination Team (a network of civil societies of South Asia) through People SAARC will appeal for increased political commitment in ensuring WASH for everyone.

Regional Right to Sanitation Campaign Coordination Committee with support from WaterAid will be organizing two side events followed by an art installation from 22-24 November to commemorate World Toilet Day and upcoming SAARC Summit. The two side events will extensively discuss on Human Right to Water, Sanitation and Hygiene and sustainable development goals.

The art installation will be initiated by renowned artist Chirag Bangdel. The main objective of the art installation is to give a clear message that equality and dignity of people is possible only if everyone, everywhere has access to safe water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH).

WaterAid Nepal Interim Country Representative Therese Mahon said, “more than one in three children do not have a safe toilet to use. Children are amongst the most vulnerable to diseases caused by lack of sanitation, which may lead to undernutrition, stunting, and a lifetime legacy of disease and poverty.”

Regional Advocacy Manager at WaterAid Rabin Lal Shrestha said, “Unsafe water, poor hygiene and sanitation practices are common in the region and governments from each South Asian regions should demonstrate increased political commitment and actions to combat these problems.”

Some key facts and figures

According to the World Health Organization, 88% of cases of diarrhoea are attributable to a lack of access to basic sanitation, unsafe drinking water and poor hygiene provision. In total, over 12 million children are estimated to have died because of diarrheal diseases from 2000 to 2013, with a lack of these services resulting in 10.6 million of these deaths.

As many as 1,710 VDCs, 15 districts and 19 municipalities have been declared ‘open defecation free zone’ across the country so far. Similarly, according to worldtoilet.org 2.5 billion people do not have access to a clean and safe toilet.

¼ of stunting can be attributed to five or more instances of diarrhoea before the age of two.

About World Toilet Day

World Toilet Day is a day to take action. It is a day to raise awareness about all people who do not have access to a toilet - despite the human right to water and sanitation. It is a day to do something about it. This year World Toilet Day is being celebrated with the slogan “Equality and Dignity.”

Of the world’s seven billion people, 2.5 billion people do not have improved sanitation. 1 billion people still defecate in the open. Women and girls risk rape and abuse because they have no toilet that offers privacy.

We cannot accept this situation. Sanitation is a global development priority. This is why the United Nations General Assembly in 2013 designated 19 November as World Toilet Day. World Toilet Day is coordinated by UN-Water in collaboration with Governments and relevant stakeholders.

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