Today is World Toilet Day. And whilst you may be laughing under your breath as you read this, the truth remains that the lack of proper sanitation and drinking water is a tremendous public health disaster. Much more than wars and battles, plagues and pestilences, is this little amenity that most of us take for granted.
The real importance of the issue is also being reflected in the fact that after massive reconstruction and medical aids to Haiti following calamitous natural disasters, just after the whole thing was about to fall into a rhythm, cholera struck. While the conspiratory theorists say that the disease was imported by the troops and forces sent in to reorganize the decimated nation, my contention is different. Source of the disease aside, the fact that there is an epidemic is undoubted. And if there was stress on the development of proper sanitation and drinking water in the first place, this health crisis may have been averted.
Coming back, closer to home, it is my personal experience that every day in the ER, a sizable number of patients present with diarrhea, often explosive, leading to potentially fatal dehydration, which needs IV fluid resuscitation to manage. In fact, one of the first IV cannulations that I did out there in the real world, was on such a severely dehydrated patient following 18 hours of explosive diarrhea!
The best way to create awareness on this issue is to promote it. To make the masses living in comfort in the developed and the developing world remember that these basic amenities are not available to nearly 40%, that is, 2.6 billion people, according to some sources (1) across the world.
But, the gold standard for this is: Twitter. Yes, Twitter, you got me right there. If there is something trending on Twitter, it means that the issue has ruffled enough people, has touched enough lives, to make them talk about it. And as I write this post, at the fag end of 19th November in India, I can see, “World Toilet” trending on Twitter. And this is my bit in the cyberworld to leave an imprint of the fact that I look forward to a world where no one dies or falls prey to ill-health stemming from poor sanitation and impure drinking water.
What’s your stand? If you need to understand the issue closer, then visit this link.
1. Progress on Sanitation and Drinking-Water: 2010 Update WHO/UNICEF Joint Monitoring Programme for Water Supply and Sanitation.