Western Visayas toilet coverage nears 75%

By Rjay Zuriaga Castor

The Department of Health Western Visayas (DOH-6) reported that the region achieved a 74.73 percent success rate in the Zero Open Defecation (ZOD) Program, meaning households now have access to basic sanitation facilities.

The figure represents 3,028 villages out of the 4,052 that have stopped practicing open defecation and are using sanitary toilet facilities.

“This means that no human feces are openly visible or exposed to the environment. This is primarily the accomplishment of our local governments,” DOH-6 Director Dr. Adriano Suba-an said in a press conference on Tuesday, July 2.

Suba-an encouraged other village officials to follow suit, emphasizing that ZOD reduces the community’s risk of diarrhea and intestinal worm infections, among other health concerns.

DOH-6 also reported that three towns were granted ZOD program sub-allotment funds in 2023: Buruanga in Aklan, Anini-y in Antique, and San Lorenzo in Guimaras.

“The awardees are the top-performing towns in the region, and we are giving them incentives. These towns have exerted effort that other areas would also establish a ZOD accomplishment,” Suba-an added.

The allocated funds varied, with a maximum of P2 million, tailored to each local government’s achievements and campaign needs.

DOH-6 revealed plans to allocate more funds in 2024 to four additional towns, one each in Aklan, Antique, Guimaras, and Negros Occidental.

“What is important is we can stop the transmission of soil-transmitted helminthiasis and other infectious diseases that are brought by flies and other insects that mostly affect the poorest communities,” Suba-an stressed.

As part of its water, sanitation, and hygiene program, DOH-6 also reported that 95.32 percent of the population now has access to a safe basic water supply, surpassing the target of 90.62 percent.

However, only 53.98 percent have safely managed drinking water, falling short of the 69.22 percent target.

In sanitation services, 91.16 percent of the population has access to basic sanitation facilities, exceeding the target of 86.37 percent.

Additionally, 69.78 percent have access to safely managed sanitation facilities, just below the target of 70.34 percent.


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