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: Grateful for a Toilet: A Call for Sustainable Sanitation Awareness

Grateful for a Toilet: A Call for Sustainable Sanitation Awareness

Global Content Strategist

There is a shortage of toilets in the world. To be more precise, about 2.5 billion people do not have access to a toilet. That is one in three people in the world who live without access to sustainable sanitation.

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 all.

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:

Health

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 all.

 

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