There is a shortage of toilets in the world. To be more precise,
billion people do not have access to a toilet. That is one in
three people in the world who live without access to sustainable
I have four toilets in my house. To some, that may be a luxury,
to others, a privilege. I have rarely worried about not being able
to find a toilet. There have been times when I was annoyed about
the "trouble" I had to go through to find a toilet while traveling.
But I cannot imagine living without a toilet, as in no toilet at
As a health care communicator I find myself drawn to many
causes--the latest developments in disease treatments, the impact
of natural disasters, and others. But like many people, I don't
often think or talk about toilets. Toilets (or the lack of one),
being such an unglamorous subject matter, take a back seat when it
comes to efforts to improve the world in which we live.
However, inadequate access to toilets is a public health crisis.
No access to sanitation is part of daily life for far too many.
This past November 19 was World Toilet Day. It was
designated by the United Nations to raise awareness about this
issue and to highlight the efforts to raise funds for toilets in
underdeveloped countries. For many, the day went unfortunately
unnoticed. So let's talk facts:
Equality and security
To put it simply, the lack of toilets affects communities and
countries.The UN General
Assembly recognizes sanitation and water as a human right. So,
we need to stop treating "toilet" as a taboo and start
communicating about how this issue affects the most vulnerable
among us--women, children, people with disabilities, the
chronically ill, and the poorest of the poor.
Next time you go to the toilet, think of it … as a means to a
healthy life; equality and security; and development of communities
and countries. And then talk about it … and become an advocate for
effective sanitation policies to ensure health and well-being for