World Toilet Day celebrated in Yambio

22 Nov 2013

World Toilet Day celebrated in Yambio

21 November 2013 - By building a latrine in every home, Western Equatoria was leading other South Sudanese states in efforts to improve sanitation, a UNICEF official said today in the state capital Yambio.

Speaking at World Toilet Day celebrations in Diatoro area, UNICEF Water Hygiene and Sanitation Specialist Philip Otieno said 25 villages in South Sudan, including five in Yambio County, had been declared open-air defecation-free.

“I want to congratulate the community of Diatoro,” said Mr. Otieno. “Everybody … has constructed a latrine, which is a good example to other communities.”

Explaining the importance of having a latrine at home, Mr. Otieno noted that 1,400 children die every day due to diarrhoea and poor sanitation.

UNICEF was supporting communities by digging boreholes and maintaining wells so residents would have safe water for drinking and hand washing, he said.

Acting Minister for Health Clement Mbugoniwia commended the community’s efforts to build latrines in all homes. He said the state government would dig more boreholes, build health facilities and schools for pupils studying under trees and rehabilitate roads to the village.

The United Nations officially observed World Toilet Day for the first time on 19 November, with a call to help break taboos around toilets, which are still out of reach for more than one-third of the global population, and make sanitation a global development priority.

According to the UN, only 4.5 billion of the world’s seven billion people have access to toilets or latrines. South Sudan is one of 22 countries that account for four-fifths of all open-air defecation.

Celebrations in Western Equatoria were supported by UNICEF in collaboration with the non-governmental organization INTERSOUS and state Ministry of Health.