Tuesday, January 27, 2015

In Partnership of UNICEF-Unilever, Masbate Communities Now Open Defacation-Free

Toilets like this in Aroroy, Masbate have wiped-out
open defecation practices among residents, leading to
lesser incidences of deadly illness especially among childre
Kwento Ni Toto shares good news to everyone. We're spreading the news about the recent health news in Masbate. Here's what is the story about.

United Nations children’s agency UNICEF and Unilever Philippines have partnered to stop the spread of deadly disease-spreading germs in less-privileged communities and far-flung provinces. Through the help of Unilever’s leading toilet-cleaning brand Domex, Filipinos are committing to better health through community spirit and participation.

In Aroroy, Masbate, the communities of Matalangtalang, Talib and Cabangcalan have been declared open defecation-free following the success of the Community Approaches to Total Sanitation (CATS) program which is managed on-ground by UNICEF and its partners.

The CATS program encourages people to look at the potential health risks of open defecation practices in their communities and collectively seek solutions to their sanitation problems—by asking them to share toilets and eventually build their own.

The program also ensures that all public facilities in the three Aroroy communities have toilets and handwashing facilities, resulting in comfort and lesser incidences of illness especially among children.

For the past three years, Unilever has been supporting UNICEF’s CATS program as part of its commitment to the Unilever Sustainable Living Plan which aims to help improve the health and well-being of more than a billion people worldwide.

Open defecation causes diarrhea and other deadly diseases, as flies go to the feces and fly into one’s food. It causes not only health-related problems, but also affects a family’s income as parents have to take care of a sick family member and pay for medicines and/or hospitalization. Kids also miss school days when they get sick or take care of sick siblings.

“Our success in making these Masbate barangays open defecation-free is a big step towards eliminating disease-spreading germs, especially among children where there are high incidences of deadly water-borne illnesses such as diarrhea and pneumonia,” said Dr. Michael Emerson Gnilo, UNICEF Communication for Development Specialist. “With Unilever support, we intend to make 18 more barangays open defecation-free by the end of 2015. These model barangays will pave the way for expansion and scale up of the program.”

Globally, more than 760,000 people are now living in open defecation-free communities, leading to improved health, safety, security and dignity, thanks to the UNICEF and Unilever partnership. This partnership has also provided more than 120 schools or 29,500 school children worldwide with safe water, sanitation and hygiene facilities which led to fewer sick days and more children staying in school, leading to improved education.

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