PH hopes to end open defecation with UNICEF's help

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Apr 10 2018 05:26 PM

FILE. Children from the Erda Foundation-Muntinlupa with Manila Water Foundation President Geodino Carpio and celebrity endorser Bettina Carlos demonstrate proper handwashing during the Global Handwashing Day celebration at the Mind Museum in Bonifacio Global City in Taguig, Thursday. The event aims to raise awareness on the importance of proper hand washing to prevent spread of disease. Photo by: Manny Palmero, ABS-CBN News

MANILA - Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said the government's target to stop open defecation may be achieved sooner than expected after programs addressing the lack of toilets in the country won awards in the recently concluded 53rd Anvil Awards.

The “Goodbye, Dumi! Hello, Healthy!” (GDHH) is a project of the Center for Health Solutions and Innovations Philippines, Inc. (CHSI) in partnership with United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) and the Department of Health.

The program that started in 2015 won a Gold Anvil award for sustained implementation, under the Advocacy Campaigns category, and a Silver Award for being "one of the best and most effective campaigns for rural community development."

"The campaign has helped increase the proportion of households with sanitary toilets – from 60 percent to 85 percent in only 8 months. So far, half of these barangays are already certified as ZOD communities," the UNICEF said in a statement.

"Our target is to achieve Zero Open Defecation (ZOD) in all barangays by 2022. With the help of ‘Goodbye, Dumi! Hello, Healthy!’”, we can reach this even before 2022," Duque said in a statement.

The elimination of open defecation will reduce risks of children contracting diarrhea and worm infections, said Julia Rees, UNICEF Philippines Deputy Representative. 

UNICEF's “WASH and Learn” that teaches children the importance of hand washing and tooth brushing also won a Silver Anvil.