Save the Children Philippines has raised concern on thousands of children in poor households and remote areas, including those living in typhoon-affected provinces, that are exposed to life-threatening diseases including diarrhea, due to lack of access to proper toilet facilities.
On World Toilet Day celebration, the child rights organization appealed to local government units to support access to water, hygiene and sanitation facilities for children and their families, particularly those in poverty and conflict-stricken provinces.
“The realization of children’s right to health and survival must be fulfilled by providing them access to clean water and toilet facilities that will ensure their health and well-being,” said Atty. Alberto Muyot, Chief Executive Officer of Save the Children Philippines.
Save the Children’s humanitarian team providing life-saving support to children and their families affected by Super Typhoon Rolly (international name: Goni) in the Bicol region has also raised concern that massive flooding has forced thousands of families to resort to open defecation, putting children’s lives at risk from water borne diseases.
Jonathan Valdez, Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Advisor of Save the Children Philippines, said, “addressing the problem on access to functional toilets at home and in school, and eliminating open defecation practices in some communities require a change in behavior and practices on poor sanitation and hygiene.”
“Children with disabilities and those living in poor and marginalized communities disproportionately do not have access to resources for improved sanitation,” said Valdez. “Even in the school setting where children have better access to functional toilets, the proper use, cleaning and maintenance of toilets need to be in place. Girls also need functional toilets to manage their menstruation when they are in school,” said Valdez.
“As we struggle to stop the spread of the Coronavirus and recover from the series of devastating typhoons, our collective action to provide access to clean water and toilet facilities to children in need and their families are of paramount importance,” said Muyot.