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47% of Liberians lack access to toilets

As US Government provides 30 Million to WASH Commission

By Lincoln G. Peters

At least about 47% of Liberians are said to lack access to toilets, according to the Executive Director of Liberia National Sanitation and Hygiene Commission (WASH) Amb. Bobby Whitfield.

He says the US Government has provided 30 Million United States dollars to help the 47% of the population of Liberians that don’t have access to toilets and are engaged in open defecation.

According to the WASH Commissioner Executive Director, the 30 Million United States dollars received from the Government of Liberia two weeks ago will construct public toilets in Bong, Nimba, Montserrado, Lofa, and Grand Bassa County, respectively.

Speaking in an interview with local broadcaster Voice of Liberia 90.5 FM Tuesday, 16 November 2021, Amb. Whitfield disclosed that globally 3.5 billion people don’t have access to toilets and Liberia is less than 1% of that global figure.

“47% of our population don’t have access to toilets according to the Joint Monitoring report submitted to the United Nations and published last … October. With that huge number of the population that don’t have access to toilets, Liberia risks serious health emergencies,” Amb. Whitfield noted.

He explained that when you have access to toilets and you do not care that the next person doesn’t have one, it shows bad signs because everyone is exposed to serious illness.

According to Amb. Whitfield, open defecation also comes back to affect you through water sources from wells and flies, dogs, birds, and other domestic and flying animals that have access to the environment after encountering pollution caused by open defecation.

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“When flies sit on our food after passing around like the dogs, birds, and other animals we eat, they get us sick. These animals eat toilets that are in the open,” he explained.

To end open defecation in Liberia, he said the 30 Million dollars will be used in those five counties and it will be used on behavior change and toilet construction in order to improve the defecation system in the country.

AMb. Whitfield said partners will apply for the project while the WASH Commission plays the supervisor role to make sure that the project is implemented in those respective counties.

“We have also developed an open defecation road map to end the process in the country as part of President George Manneh Weah’s priority. Even though open defecation can’t easily be policed due to behavior change, the Government is working toward that,” Amb Whitfield said.

UNICEF will also be constructing public toilets in Redlight, Slipway, and Waterside Community, and it’s expected to benefit over four thousand residents of the areas, he said.

“I want to thank the President of Liberia for giving us the space to lobby with partners to end open defecation and other unhygienic situations in the country,” he noted.

Amb. Whitfield said the Government through the Ministry of Finance has also vowed to increase the commission’s budget to help with its operations, saying he is grateful for that.https://thenewdawnliberia.com/wash-commission-seeks-us140m/–Edited by Winston W. Parley

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The New Dawn is Liberia’s Truly Independent Newspaper Published by Searchlight Communications Inc. Established on November 16, 2009, with its first hard copy publication on January 22, 2010. The office is located on UN Drive in Monrovia Liberia. The New Dawn is bilingual (both English & French).
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