World Toilet Day: a crucial element to eradicate poverty

Although it may seem odd, disgusting or perhaps silly, behind the toilet is one of the most effective responses to eradicate poverty worldwide. This was known by Bill Gates after reading in an article the number of people who die per year from diarrhea: 432,000 according to United Nations data. This is why the billionaire has dedicated himself to promoting the design of sustainable sanitation systems through his foundation.

Toilet: essential but little recognized

The truth is that a toilet is much more than a mere device to defecate: it is a key instrument for world health and economy. Have you ever thought about it?

A toilet carries a sanitation system that keeps the streets, oceans, rivers and ecosystems clean, preventing infectious diseases, such as diarrhea or cholera, from expanding.

Sanitation systems, in turn, involve not only health but also well-being and dignity for people, that due to illnesses caused by infectious diseases or the stress of not having a decent bathroom to go to, can lower their productivity and affect to GDP up to 5%.

In addition, investment in toilets and water is one of the most profitable public health promotions. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), for every dollar invested, an average of $ 4 is saved due to higher productivity, and the decrease in deaths and medical costs caused by infectious diseases.

Attack against public health

Lacking toilets and sanitation systems in good functioning directly threatens public health. To give you specific numbers, according to data from the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), a gram of fecal matter can carry a million bacteria, a thousand parasites and 10 million viruses.

And according to the WHO, more than 800 thousand deaths are the result of poor sanitation and hygiene practices, such as not washing your hands before eating or after defecating. For you to compare, the previous number is greater than the deaths caused by malaria worldwide. Those who suffer in particular the lack of a private and clean toilet are girls and women, who have no privacy when they are menstruating.

What is World Toilet Day about?

The main objective of this day, which, as you may have noticed, is not a joke, is to remind us every November 19 of the importance of decent sanitation systems and in good conditions for all; establish and establish in society its importance as a pillar and right of every person in the world.

The main theme of 2019 is “Do not leave anyone behind”, highlighting the inherent legal character of each human being and as a protector and creator of opportunities. At present, more than 4200 million people lack sanitary systems in good condition and managed safely.

This refers to having clean and hygienic sanitary facilities that are not shared with other homes, that separate fecal matter from human contact and that are treated safely, either in the same place or in specialized places for treatment.

Did you know that the toilet was so important?