The Philippine Department of Health on November 19 launched the Philippine Approach to Sustainable Sanitation policy, which cites new sanitation targets for all barangays or villages across the country to achieve zero open defecation status by 2025.
The policy was launched in the capital Manila on the occasion of World Toilet Day.
Only 11% of villages in the Philippines have achieved zero open defecation status, where people have abandoned the practice of open defecation, according to a joint statement from the health department and the UNICEF.
“We encourage all local government units to prioritize sanitation,” UNICEF Deputy Representative Julia Rees said. “Prioritizing sanitation is not a choice, but an imperative! It’s about time to look at addressing the sanitation needs of people in urban slums, in remote and geographically isolated areas, and in indigenous communities for a healthier, more progressive Philippines.”
UNICEF provides technical assistance to the health department in scaling up sanitation programs.
The Philippine Approach to Sustainable Sanitation policy guides local governments on how to track the sanitation situation of each community and take action to ensure that everyone has access to a sanitary toilet.