The toilet has its date on the calendar and its own annual celebration. But what does it have to do with healthcare? As it turns out, quite a lot. A bathroom saves lives, reduces poverty, and dignifies people’s lives. That is why this day is commemorated on the 19th of November to remember that more than half of the world’s population does not have safe sanitation. On this day we want to summarize its importance:
Tierra Grata’s Baño Grato Program
A toilet dignifies: If you ask someone to name the most important piece of furniture in their home and the ones they miss the most when they’re away, they will probably mention many before they remember the toilet. Or maybe they won’t even mention it. But for 30 million Latin Americans, defecating outdoors is their reality. And with it, exposure to animal hazards, sexual harassment, and disease. Having a toilet in an intimate and healthy space, which you can access in the comfort of your home gives you well-being, but above all, dignity.
A toilet saves lives: Saying that having a toilet is a privilege of few may not be such a profound message, even considering that only two out of five people on the planet have safe sanitation. But to say that, in the middle of the 21st century, with all the technological advances we have, people are dying from diarrhea, perhaps more attention. Diarrhea? Sounds like a joke. That’s not even a disease, it’s an easily treatable symptom. Yes, and yet more than 400,000 people die each year from this and other diseases related to the lack of safe sanitation, including those who ingest untreated water containing human feces. Having a toilet, where excreta are separated from human contact and transported or treated on-site so that it does not contaminate water sources, can help save the lives of both its users, as well as those of their neighbors.
A toilet reduces poverty: Global organizations define poverty as a three-dimensional problem comprised of education, health, and quality of life. Sanitation is one of the aspects of quality of life and is afforded a 6% weight. This means that if someone did not have access to safe sanitation, and now does, it will have reduced their poverty by about 6%.
With all this information, we hope that from now on you will consider your toilet as one of your favorite pieces of furniture, to be grateful if you have one at home, but most importantly, to join initiatives that work together for safe sanitation. Start by sharing this story and commemorating World Health Day.