Abuja – As the World celebrates the World Toilet Day, UN Secretary-General, Ban-Ki Moon, has urged government of nations to step up efforts to boost sanitation coverage in their various countries.
Ban made the call in his 2013 message on the World Toilet Day posted on the UN website.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the World Toilet Day is celebrated every Nov. 19 to raise global awareness for dignified sanitation.
Ban said : “We are a long way from achieving the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) target of reducing by half the proportion of people lacking adequate sanitation.
“We must urgently step up our efforts with all actors working together for rapid and tangible results.
“And as we look beyond 2015, it is essential that sanitation is placed at the heart of the post-2015 development framework. The solutions need not be expensive or technology-driven.”
The UN chief said that there were many successful models that could be replicated and scaled up to achieve the target.
Ban said that countries must work to educate at-risk communities and change cultural perceptions and long-standing practices that have no place in the modern world.
“By working together and by having an open and frank discussion on the importance of toilets and sanitation, we can improve the health and well-being of one-third of the human family,’’ he said.
According to Ban, each year, more than 800,000 children under five die needlessly from diarrhoea – more than one child a minute.
He said that countless others fall seriously ill with many suffering long-term health and developmental consequences, stressing that poor sanitation and hygiene are the primary cause.
“Worldwide, some 2.5 billion people lack the benefits of adequate sanitation. More than one billion people practice open defecation.
“We must break the taboos and make sanitation for all a global development priority.
“Sanitation is central to human and environmental health. It is essential for sustainable development, dignity and opportunity,’’ he said.
He noted that poor water and sanitation cost developing countries around 260 billion dollars a year — 1.5 per cent of their gross domestic product.
On the other hand, he said that every dollar invested could bring a five-fold return by keeping people healthy and productive.
“When schools offer decent toilets 11 per cent more girls attend. When women have access to a private latrine, they are less vulnerable to assault.
“Despite the compelling moral and economic case for action on sanitation, progress has been too little and too slow.
“That is why I launched a Call to Action on Sanitation this year to end open defecation by 2025 and build on existing efforts such as Sanitation and Water for All and the Sanitation Drives to 2015.’’ (NAN)