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Wednesday, 10 January 2024

All houses in Dinagat Islands' town now have toilets, thanks to DOH program

By Renelle Escuadro

Toilet inspection was conducted to all houses in Loreto town as an integral requirement for the ZOD program. (Photo courtesy to Road to ZOD Province of Dinagat Islands)

The Department of Health (DOH) regional office in Caraga has declared the local government of Loreto in Dinagat Islands as 100 percent zero open defecation, the first in the province, as all households of the town now have access to toilets.

 

This achievement was marked after the adjudicators of the Zero Open Defecation (ZOD) program recently completed their evaluation to the 2,427 households of the 10 barangays of the town namely, Carmen, Esperanza, Ferdinand, Helene, Liberty, Magsaysay, Panamaon, San Juan, Sta. Cruz and Santiago. 

 

The ZOD is led by the DOH under the Sustainable Sanitation Program that aims to motivate people practicing open defecation to abandon such practice and to ascertain that every household should have their own toilet for the proper disposal of human waste. This is to avoid illnesses in the community such as diarrhea, intestinal worms, cholera, typhoid, hepatitis, urinary tract infection, among others. 

 

According to Mayor Doandre Bill Ladaga, “The implementation of ZOD became challenging when Super Typhoon Odette destroyed almost all toilets in the communities. However, during the rebuilding of our houses, the local government unit effectively administered the ZOD program to all households. With the strong collaboration of the RHU to the barangays, we welcomed the new year with a new triumph in the successful implementation of the program. With this, we guarantee a healthy, clean and safe place for all Loretohanons.”

“Atong gipaningkamotan nga ang tanan barangay ma-ZOD certified pinaagi sa abtik nato na sanitary inspector, kita ang pinakauna nga nahimong ZOD municipality. [ We worked hard that all barangays would be ZOD certified through the efforts of our sanitary inspector Erik Pelismino, we are the first ZOD municipality in the province],” the mayor added.

 

Provincial Sanitary Inspector Riza Cerna said that, “Tungod sa malampuson nga nakapasar ang 10 ka barangay, gideklara na nga 1st Zero Open Defecation Municipality ang lungsod sa Loreto sa entiro probinsya sa Dinagat Islands [Since the 10 barangays successfully passed the evaluation, we declared the town of Loreto in the Province of Dinagat Islands as the first Zero Open Defecation municipality].”

 

It can be recalled that in 2020, the DOH raised the alarm on open defecation as a national health and public concern when 10 million people in the country did not have access to properly managed sanitation and toilets, and 25 percent of the total households needed help for sanitation facilities like toilets.   

 

With the Zero Open Defecation program that is strongly cascaded and participated at the grassroots level, the provincial government of Dinagat Islands has high hopes that the remaining LGUs in the province will gain the same achievement as support to the government to totally end open defecation by 2025. (RLE, PIA-Dinagat Islands)