Bangladesh a role model in access to sanitation


Bangladesh has become a role model in ensuring access to improved sanitation with the government working to bring 100 percent people under the this privilege by 2030, officials said.

Data from the Department of Public Health Engineering (DPHE) under the Ministry of Local Government, Rural Development and Co-operatives, shows currently, about 99 percent of total population has access to improved sanitation.

Only a few people remain left out of improved sanitation since they live in remote areas region and often face natural calamities, a DPHE official told Bangladesh Post.

However, this small portion of people will have access to sanitation by 2030, he added.

Chief Engineer of the DPHE Saifur Rahman told Bangladesh Post that only 42 percent of the population enjoyed sanitation facility in 2003. At present, Bangladesh “becomes a role model in ensuring access to improved sanitation,” he added.

Nowadays, less than one percent of population defecates in the open and they will have access to improved sanitation within a few years, Rahman said.

Abdul Monnaf, project director (PD) of National Sanitation Project, said that the third phase of the project is underway. Began in January 2016, it will end in this December. 

“To popularise sanitary latrines, the DPHE, the World Health Organization (WHO) and the UNICEF have jointly provided latrine rings and slabs to the public at a low cost and  occasionally gave it for free,” he added.

In the 1990s, donor agencies were vocal to ensure sanitation for all in Bangladesh within a decade since the use of sanitary latrines in the country had been very low in the 1970s.

According to the WB, only 1 percent of total population had access to sanitation in Bangladesh at that time.

Whereas about 40 percent people in Bangladesh used to defecate in the open during the early 1990s, according to another estimate jointly made by the WHO and the UNICEF.

In between, the UNICEF revolutionised the use of tube well and oral saline in Bangladesh in the 1980s, significantly reducing the mortality rate related to diarrhoea.

However, the prevalence of diarrhoea and malnutrition did not reduce at the same rate due to poor use of sanitary latrines across the country.