THREE in 10 health facilities in the Philippines were found to be lacking access to clean toilets, according to a report by the World Health Organization (WHO).
In its joint report with the United Nations Children's Fund (Unicef), the WHO noted that 23 percent of the health care facilities have unclean toilets, while four percent have no toilets at all.
The WHO said such a predicament is simply unacceptable as it puts in peril the health of patients as well as healthcare workers in the facilities.
“Healthcare facilities won’t be able to provide quality care to people if there is no safe water, toilet or hand washing facility,” said WHO representative in the Philippines Dr. Gundo Weiler.
He noted how the recent water shortage in Metro Manila would be the best example on the importance of clean water and toilets in healthcare facilities.
This after five major hospitals, namely, the Rizal Medical Center in Pasig City; National Center for Mental Health in Mandaluyong City; and National Kidney and Transplant Institute, Philippine Children’s Medical Center, and Quirino Memorial Medical Center, all in Quezon City, were adversely affected by the lack of water supply.
“The recent water shortage in Metro Manila highlighted the need for long-term solutions to water, sanitation, and hygiene in healthcare facilities,” said Weiler.
For its part, Unicef said newborn babies are put at greater risks if they are born in healthcare facilities without access to clean toilets.
Unicef Ad Interim country representative Julia Rees said this is because infants, as well as their mothers, are prone to infections like sepsis.
“When a child is born in a birthing facility or hospital without sufficient access to water, sanitation, and hygiene, both the child and the mother are at risk of infection,” said Rees.
The WHO and Unicef then urged the Philippines to ensure that safe water, sanitation, and hygiene facilities are available and accessible to ensure health for all Filipinos.
The international agencies said they are ready to assist the government in establishing standards for health care facilities, as well as strengthening the capacity of health workforce on water, sanitation, and hygiene assessment and planning for health care facilities. (HDT/SunStar Philippines)