The Problem

Sanitation is a basic right for every human being and a public good utilized essentially for keeping an individual healthy per say. It refers to the “hygenic and proper management, collection, disposal or reuse of human excreta and community liquid wastes to safeguard the health of individuals and communities”. As such, it aims to prevent the spread of diseases to the human community.

Out of the surveyed households, 225 households out of 243 have access to a toilet facility leaving a standing 18 households with no access. Of this, 104 out of the 243 households follow proper standard for a sanitary toilet while others do not. Survey results also showed that 5 household practice the pail system and dump their excreta into the river and 1 household practices open defecation. In addition, acute gastroenteritis (AGE) and schistosomiasis are in the top ten leading morbidity cases in the past 5 years with AGE ranking second.

As such, the team and key persons of Barangay Manguiles has come up with a comprehensive health plan with the general objective to increase the number of households with access to toilet facilities from 92.59% (225) to 100% (243) in Barangay Manguiles, Mahayag, Zamboanga del Sur, and to eliminate zero open defecation by the year 2020 to match with the goals of the Sustainable Development Goals 6.2.

The Proposed Solutions

The problem of sanitation dates back since the 1990s. While progress has been made since then, reaching over 41 million Filipinos, more work needs to be done to meet the goals of the Sanitation Program in the Philippines. And this problem is not merely the production and construction of facilities, but changing the mindset and attitudes of the people in practicing proper hygiene and sanitation.

As such, the comprehensive health plan on the “Toilet Sanitation Program” aims not just raising the number of households accessibility to toilets, but to understanding community practices and attitudes and from there, moving forward to shape them to realizing how a simple act as handwashing, can save many.

The CHP is divided into three major parts:

  1. Preoperational: This part consists of the assessment and identification of the problems the community is facing with regards to proper sanitation. This would involve surveys, interviews and ocular inspection with the help of the sanitary health officer and barangay officials.
  2. Operational: This part is divided into two parts. The first involves the community on the knowledge, skills and attitudes towards toilet sanitation while the second on the construction of toilet facilities for household with no access.
  1. The first part would compromise of health education. Health education would be on basic hygiene practices, the risks of improper sanitation and improper toilet practices in particular, open defecation. This involves a series of lectures, activities, return-demonstration and visual aids to enrich and improve the knowledge of the community residents. The target individuals are the residents, mothers, teachers and children.
  2. The second part would be for the construction of the toilets. This would require the help of the barangay officials and the sanitary inspector. Construction would include the designing, layout, acquisition of toilet bowls and the formation of social contracts for stakeholders funding.
  1. Post-operational: This part would be for monitoring and assessment if the proposed solutions are effective and would be in long term effect once the team would leave the community. Strategies involved are the formation of a core group who will undertake the objectives of the CHP and the formation of a resolution.

Sustainability

For every community health plan, what makes it effective is its long term sustainability. The team would aims to reach this in three ways.

The first way is the formation of a core group. The core group who will come from the community will not be merely volunteers but leaders that will model the importance of practicing toilet sanitation. They will be trained not merely in the knowledge, but skills and attitudes in their own practices and in teaching the community residents. Second is the construction of the toilet facilities. The availability of the toilets is a form of measure that the community residents have an avenue to practice their knowledge and skills. The formation of the barangay resolution that covers for the entire barangay is the final step in sustaining the health plan long after the team has left Barangay Manguiles.

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