Namibian Deputy Minister of Health and Social Services Esther Muinjangue on Monday urged increased efforts to improve sanitation in the country during the commemoration of World Toilet Day in the western coastal city of Swakopmund.
According to Muinjangue, poor hygiene practices significantly contribute to several endemic and epidemic diseases in southern Africa and globally.
“We need to change this reality and break the vicious cycle of diseases,” she said.
Although Namibia has made significant progress in the water sector, with over 93 percent of the population having access to improved water supply, the challenge remains with sanitation. Muinjangue said that open defecation, practiced by more than half of Namibia’s population, adversely affects public health, particularly children and pregnant women, stressing that access to safe water, sanitation and hygiene is a fundamental human need for health and well-being.
“Governments and major institutions must be accountable for delivering on their promises. I urge everyone to take responsibility for ensuring safe toilet and water usage,” she added.
World Toilet Day was officially recognized by the United Nations in 2013, observed every Nov. 19. The day aims to mobilize global, national and community efforts to enhance hygiene, alter social norms and eliminate open defecation by 2030 through a worldwide public campaign advocating action to address the global sanitation crisis.