Call to bridge gaps between sanitation access and service quality on World Toilet Day 2019
DHAKA, TUESDAY, 19 NOVEMBER 2019 – This year World Toilet Day (19th November) is being observed across the globe in different countries including Bangladesh. It is about inspiring action to tackle the Global Sanitation Crisis. The theme this year is “Leave no-one behind”. This provides the opportunity to call attention to everyone who does not have access to basic sanitation and to draw attention to the fact that achieving Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 6.2 targets will require faster rates of progress among the most disadvantaged segments of the society.
The major challenge facing Bangladesh is the gap between access and quality of sanitation services such as progression of open defecation free (98.5 per cent) to universal access to safely managed sanitation which is currently 31 per cent in rural areas (JMP, 2017). There are still inequities in basic sanitation services among divisions and poor and rich. About 83 per cent of the richest, but only 46 per cent of the poorest people use basic latrine in the country (MICS 2019).
For Bangladesh to achieve universal access to sanitation by 2030, 19 million households need to gain access to safely managed sanitation (Sanitation Market Analysis report, UNICEF, 2019). The potential market is enormous, worth between 1.2 and 2.0 billion US dollars. Support from both private and public sectors are needed to meet the sanitation related SDG 2 target.
In terms of financial resources, disparities are observed between urban and rural areas. Only 22 per cent of total sanitation funds have been spent in rural areas and the remaining 80 per cent funds in urban areas (GLAAS 2018).
The Government of Bangladesh have taken steps to eliminate inequalities including evidence generation for more precise targeting to identify the areas in need, using nationally commissioned surveys such as the Demographic Health Survey and the Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey. For example, in collaboration with IMED, BIDS and BBS, UNICEF Bangladesh initiated a project to assess the effective coverage of basic social services. There has also been a review of policies and strategies such as the National Pro-poor Strategy for WASH; the National Strategy for Hard to Reach areas and the implementation plan on arsenic mitigation.
This year’s theme follows the push towards ‘leaving no one behind’ in the Sustainable Development Agenda. Inequalities in access to sanitation facilities and lack of effective fecal sludge management can put individuals at higher risk for diseases that impact their health, education, and economic outcomes.
To ‘leave no one behind’, we must remove the stigma and taboos around sanitation and accelerate our efforts towards including people who have been marginalized or ignored. These are the same people who often suffer the worst health consequences of inadequate sanitation.
 Global Analysis and Assessment of Sanitation and Drinking-Water (GLAAS)
UNICEF promotes the rights and wellbeing of every child, in everything we do. Together with our partners, we work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere.
For more information about UNICEF and its work for children, visit www.unicef.org.bd