NEGROS ORIENTAL (PIA) – Six barangays in the northern part of Negros Oriental are now close to being declared as Zero Open Defecation (ZOD) Barangays.
These are barangays Cangabo, Bagtic, Busilak, Kansumandig, and Maragondong in the municipality of La Libertad and barangay Poblacion in Manjuyod town.
Nurse Wena Gallosa of the La Libertad Municipal Health Unit who is also a member of the Municipal Technical Working Group (MTWG) on ZOD noted that the mentioned barangays in their area which are open defecation free are mostly far flung barangays.
She also cited that one reason why these villages achieved a ZOD status is that residents were very cooperative and have understood the health and sanitation risks of open defecation.
In Manjuyod town, a member of the MWG reported that all households in Barangay Poblacion have installed sanitary toilets upon their recent inspection in the said village.
The Provincial Technical Working Group (PTWG) on ZOD found this out on the 2nd day of their ZOD campaign monitoring in some cities and municipalities in the province.
The PTWG visited the towns of La Libertad, Manjuyod and Bais City today and talked with their local counterparts in the said towns and city on the status of ZOD campaign in their locality.
With this, PTWG recommended an on-ground validation on these communities before they can be certified as ZOD barangays.
The PTWG also suggested that local chief executives of these towns and city must issue an executive order creating a ZOD verification team.
Representatives from the PTWG will also come to verify these houses if they already have functional sanitary comfort rooms.
In a similar development, the PTWG also found out that said towns and city already have an executive orders and resolutions that prohibit open-defecation and creation of MTWG.
However, the group also found out that thousands of households from these town and city still have no access for sanitary toilets.
Dr. Edgardo Barredo of the Integrated Provincial Health Office (IPHO) who also heads the PTWG encouraged MTWG to continuously conduct Community Led Total Sanitation trainings (CLTS) to barangay residents especially barangay captains and sanitary inspectors to further raise their knowledge on the dangers of open defecation.
He underscored that the most important thing is that these people will understand that if they continue to practice open defecation, human manure will attract flies and these insects will eventually go to their homes and spread bacteria on their food and water.
The PWTG also suggested that they should also focus on other barangays with the low number of households without sanitary toilets so that these will become show window of a successful ZOD campaign to other barangays.
Another strategy they suggested is to make barangay officials craft a resolution that will only allow issuances of barangay clearance to its residents if they have functional comfort rooms in their houses.
This was observed in Malungon town in Sarangani province which was certified as the first open-defecation municipality in that province.
These suggestions were welcomed by the members of the MTWG. The ZOD campaign is initiated by the Department of Health in partnership with the World Bank-Water and Sanitation Program.
After La Libertad, Manjuyod and Bais City the PTWG is set to evaluate the status of ZOD campaing in Mabinay, Tanjay City and Pamplona on Nov. 20. (mbcn/ral/PIA7-Negros Oriental/This article was first published at PIA Website on Nov. 18, 2015)