Kathmandu, Nov. 19: It has been two years since Nepal was declared an open defecation-free (ODF) country, but open defecation is still widely practised to date in many places.
According to Dr Krishna Prasad Poudel, Spokesperson to the Ministry of Health and Population (MoHP), even though Nepal was declared as open defecation free on September 30, 2019, many water-borne diseases induced by open defecation can be still observed in the country.
“The cholera outbreak of Kapilvastu is the prime example that Nepal still has a long way to go to make it defecation free,” said Poudel, while adding that Krishnanagar, Maharajgunj, Shivaraj Municipality and Bijayanagar and Yashodhara Rural Municipalities of Kapilvastu district suffered from Cholera outbreak on October, 4, caused by open defecation as well as unsafe hygiene habits.
He further said that even though people have toilets but they dispose of facets outside because of unawareness. Therefore, awareness about the disease and environmental effects of ODC must be raised to minimize ODF in Nepal.
Similarly, Dr Amrit Pokhrel, Chief of Emergency and Outbreak Management Section at Epidemiology and Disease Control Division (EDCD), said, “The disease transmission caused by open defecation is the cyclic nature of problems. The most common diseases caused by this unsanitary act are increased cases of diarrhoea, regular stomach upsets, and overall poor health. People dispose on open fields, this pollutes environment and water sources and when people intake food produced on defecation zones and polluted water then they again suffer from many waterborne diseases.”
“This vicious cycle will continue until and unless health hygiene will be adopted by people, he said, while adding that, in Krishnanagar municipality, almost 50 per cent of people do not use toilets and dispose of outside,” He added.
Meanwhile, World Toilet Day is being celebrated today in Nepal with an aim to highlight the importance of sanitation, hygiene in driving importance in public health and the environment. This year’s theme is, “Valuing Toilets.”