WTD: 673 Million People Practise Open Defecation, Say WHO, UNICEF


Fadekemi Ajakaiye

As humanity marks World Toilet Day (WTD) today, data by WHO/UNICEF, released this year, states that “Today, 4.2 billion people live without safely managed sanitation and 673 million people still practise open defecation worldwide (WHO/UNICEF 2019).”

This year’s World Toilet Day (WTD) theme, “Leaving No One Behind,” emphasises the importance of making sure that access to sanitation is expanded to include everyone, giving special attention to those who are most vulnerable.

The world is still significantly off track to meet Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 6 to ensure sanitation and water for all by 2030.

A statement by the Water, Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council (WSSCC) says “two billion people lack basic sanitation and 72 per cent of them live in rural areas. At the current pace, universal access to safely managed sanitation will not become a reality until the 22nd century.

“Rural areas are home to 91% of the 673 million people who continue to defecate in the open, and to 72% of the 2 billion people without basic sanitation services.

“We call for the use of the following five principles to underpin rural sanitation programs: government leadership, stakeholder alignment, area-wide programming, inclusive solutions and evidence-based and adaptive implementation.”