Quest to fight sanitation-related diseases through clean toilets getting more supporters

MANILA, Nov. 13 (PNA) — As part of the celebration of World Toilet Day 2015, the quest for the prevention of sanitation-related diseases through the promotion of clean toilets was highlighted in a hospital in Quezon City on Friday.

In an awareness advocacy held at the East Avenue Medical Center (EAMC), the hospital housekeeping staff as well as patients, their relatives and friends witnessed the ongoing steps being taken by different concerned and dedicated organizations in the efforts to achieve clean toilets as “shields” against the spread of diseases arising from poor hygiene and sanitation.

With the support of Unilever Philippines, in cooperation with the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), Maxicare, Philippine Public Health Association (PPHA), the hospital has been included in the advocacy to attain the goal of ensuring the success of 1 Million Clean Toilets Movement in the country.

“The program is very relevant and helpful because the simple act of proper toilet hygiene can help prevent the spread of disease,” according to Dr. Alfonso Nuñez III, EAMC Deputy Quality Management representative.

He said that since the EAMC manages significant number of infectious and highly contagious diseases ranging from simple coughs and colds, diarrhea to moderate types of infection like deep-skin infection, even to complex diseases such as typhoid and hepatitis, it is very important that people coming in and getting out of the facility are educated on the importance of clean toilets and hygiene practices.

Dr. Nuñez explained that such initiative can create more positive effects since the patients can also help spread such “awareness” in their very own home and community.

He said that the awareness drive is also a factor that may help the people realize that a loss of income or livelihood, and sometimes lives, proper nutrition and other consequences of getting sick are really preventable through maintaining clean toilets.

He also said that through the movement, a large number of disease cases in the hospitals can be prevented as he cited that the initiative can help in cutting the expenditures of the Department of Health (DOH) which puts a lot of budget and other resources toward curing of and prevention of infectious diseases.

“About 80 percent of the patients (of EAMC) belong to the poorest sector who have no access to clean toilets,” the doctor added.

According to Liza Vengco, Unilever Sustainable Business and Communications Manager, they are looking forward to educating a million Filipino people every year to be aware of the importance of clean toilets and ways to keep them clean and germ-free so that preventable diseases can be stopped from spreading.

Unilever’s advocacy started since 2013, through the launching of the 1 Million Clean Toilets Movement by educating the public on using Domex, a leading germ-kill expert in cleaning unsanitary toilet bowls.

The launching of the program was initially made in a school in Manila in 2013, followed up in a community in Baseco, also in Manila in 2014, to intensify the campaign.

All of these efforts are in line with Unilever Philippines’ long-term commitment to the global Unilever Sustainable Living Plan to improve the health and well-being of two billion people worldwide by 2020.

The advocacy is also aiming to help schoolchildren from being absent in school and away from diseases that can result to dropping out and loss of productivity.

With the awareness campaign included in the advocacy, Unilever and its partners do a series of steps in helping the public understand the essence of clean toilets, giving demonstration on ways of cleaning and what brand or product can really help in attaining the goal.

They also educate the public through leaflets and presentations on the causes of sicknesses that can result from practice of open defecation and unsanitized toilets. Leilani S. Junio/PNA