The City Health Office (CHO) Sanitation and Disease Control Division is targeting to make Puerto Princesa barangays abandon the practice of open defecation by 2023.
Sanitation Inspector IV Chona Cabiguen said Friday open defecation puts residents at risk of being affected by diarrhea and other water-borne diseases.
As of current, she said 24 out of the 66 barangays in the city are now under the zero open defecation (ZOD) status in G1 level.
“Initially kasi ang target lang namin is 10 barangays, pero dahil sa tulung-tulong na [pagtratrabaho] ng mga sanitary [division] ng barangays, nakadagdag pa kami ng 14 so that makes 24,” Cabiguen said.
G1 level means all households in one barangay have comfort rooms that can be shared by their occupants.
It also means the availability of the facility in a community that can be used by a maximum of 10 families.
Cabiguen added it is a status where all schools should have toilets for the use of the students.
She said the work started in 2016 when they piloted the strategy, until November of this year.
This current status is a product of their intensified campaign at the barangay level and the giving away of free toilet bowls and pipes, she also said.
Sanitation Inspector Portia Sanchez added that the ZOD strategy is under the long-term U.N. Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) the city has adopted.
“We got 24 barangays out of 66 so that is 16.5 percent of the [total] household population,” Sanchez pointed out.
Kristine May Javarez, nurse and Sanitation Inspector I, stressed that majority of the sickness may likely be caused by open defecation.
Javarez said that according to studies, diarrhea is among the top five causes of death in children under five years old.
This is due to residents defecating in their open surrounding rather than using comfort rooms.
“Pag nag-open defacation tayo sa lugar natin, marami tayong mga sakit [na makukuha] tulad ng food-borne or water-borne illnesses. ‘Yong mga sakit na ‘yan [ay] tulad ng cholera, hepatitis A, diarrhea,”she said.
Javarez added that the ZOD strategy also covers used diapers that should be disposed of properly.
Meanwhile, Cabiguen reiterated they will conduct continuous monitoring on the cleared barangays to ensure the sustainability of the project.
“Challenge sa amin ‘yan kasi naumpisahan na namin kaya talagang nandodoon ‘yong aming continuous monitoring. Kasi ‘yong mga na-declare na ‘yan hindi nangangahulugan na declared na sila ay forever na ‘yan,” she said.
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