Improved toilets reduces water-borne diseases in Pemagatshel

Sanitation: Choekhorking gewog is perhaps the shining example of a community that gives special attention to toilets. Here, one need not run behind thickets to relieve oneself of nature’s call.

Households of the five chiwogs here have well-constructed and clean toilets connected with flush.

In 2013, SNV officials created awareness on the importance of toilet and sanitation. Following that, the gewog and basic health unit (BHU) officials monitored each chiwog and urged villagers to construct clean and safe toilet.

Gewog Mangmi Jigme said that during one of the gewog tshogdes, village tshogpas, gewog officials and villagers came decided on a plan to award Nu 5,000 prize to whichever chiwog has achieved 100 percent proper toilet coverage.

“That was the time when Yarjung chiwog came first. Almost half of its 128 households had proper and safe toilets,” said Jigme. “Other chiwogs then followed suit.”

Jigme said that pour flush toilets with cemented and roofed compartment. A few who couldn’t afford but even they had started maintaining hygienic toilets.

And by mid-2014, total of 266 households in five chiwogs had constructed pour toilet and pit toilet right outside their house.

Hard work paid off when gewog was rewarded certificate of appreciation recently from Ministry of Health for achieving 100 percent toilet coverage in Pemagatshel.

Lhazang Dema, a farmer, said they noticed the first thing people from outside look for is proper toilet.

Many villagers said that they now feel ashamed to run behind thickets whenever they have to answer call of nature.

Gewog’s assistant officer, Phuntsho Wangdi, said that the BHU has seen drop in the water-borne disease since 2014. Water-borne diseases used to be one of the top ailments in the gewog then.

Kinley Dorji, a health officer, said dzongkhag has 98 percent toilet coverage in 11 gewogs.

Yangchen C Rinzin, Nganglam

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