Nepal | July 05, 2020

38 districts yet to attain ODF status

Himalayan News Service
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Kathmandu, November 4

Only 13 months remain to complete the National Sanitation and Hygiene Master Plan. However, as many as 38 districts have yet to attain the Open Defection Free status.

In 2011, the Government of Nepal developed a National Sanitation and Hygiene Master Plan (2011-2017), which had set an ambitious target of achieving 100 per cent Total Behaviour Change (TBC incorporates ODF along with 11 other WASH related indicators) across all 75 districts by 2017.

The adoption of such difficult targets indicates a strong commitment of the government to transform lives.

In the years since the commencement of the campaign, most unfortunately, the target seems more like a distant dream with even the 37 districts declared Open Defecation Free zones experiencing hiccups.

Nearly Rs 300 million of the national budget is said to have been spent for the campaign while different NGOs and INGOs have reportedly also contributed to increasing people’s access to drinking water and latrines, especially in the Terai region.

“Due to the devastating earthquake last year, nearly 6,000 drinking water sources and 300,000 toilets were damaged,” said Ram Chandra Devkota, director general at the Department of Water Supply and Sewerage. While 50 per cent of the houses lack toilets, there is a severe shortage of public toilets in the urban areas of the country.

While the number of public toilets in the country has always been insufficient, the capital is hit the hardest with rising influx of people. Only 16 public toilets are available for a population of 1,003,285 people.

According to Gyanendra Karki, spokesperson for Kathmandu Metropolitan City, dearth of the said facilities have always caused the residents great inconvenience. “Even though Kathmandu Valley has been declared an ODF district, there is still a severe lack of public toilets.

Until we are able to provide and maintain toilets in different places, awareness programmes alone will not work.”

A version of this article appears in print on November 05, 2016 of The Himalayan Times.

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