Toilets Are Medicine

By John Oldfield
Posted March 19, 2014
 

 

 

The Dalai Lama asserted a few years ago that “water is medicine,” referring to how important safe drinking water is for public health. On World Water Day, March 22, let’s push that one step further: toilets are medicine. A poll by the prestigious British Medical Journal (BMJ) quantified the importance of sanitation facilities, ranking the “introduction of clean water and sewage disposal—‘the sanitary revolution’—as the most important medical milestone since 1840, when the BMJ was first published.” Toilets trumped vaccines, antibiotics, and other important medical milestones, and for good reason: flushing toilets and non-piped sanitation facilities save and improve millions of lives across the globe.

 

Yet it’s 2014 and 768 million people continue to live without safe drinking water, while 2.5 billion live without sanitation. This problem carries enormous health and economic costs, and hundreds of millions of women and girls continue to be used as water and wastewater infrastructure - as pipes - on a daily basis. This, in 2014.

 

It is important that the public be more aware of this challenge, while recognizing that it is being solved by governments and their private sector counterparts across Africa, Asia, and Latin America. But we need to accelerate that progress. Efforts in the U.S. include more sustainable private and corporate philanthropic efforts, increased support on Capitol Hill and within the U.S. Agency for International Development, and millions of Americans actively engaged through civic and faith groups, non-profits, and academia. Even Chelsea Clinton is “obsessed with diarrhea.”

 

The Water Environment Federation and its members are particularly well-placed to lead on this challenge through their personal and corporate efforts, both in the U.S. and across the developing world. Eventually everyone on the planet will have access to both safe drinking water and sanitation: will that be in 2030 or 2300?

 03/19/2014Permanent link

Toilets Are Medicine  ()
 

Toilets Are Medicine By John OldfieldPosted March 19, 2014      The Dalai Lama asserted a few years ago that “water is medicine,” referring to how important safe drinking water is for public health. On World Water Day, March 22,

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Toilets Are Medicine

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Toilets Are Medicine

By John Oldfield
Posted March 19, 2014
 

 

 

The Dalai Lama asserted a few years ago that “water is medicine,” referring to how important safe drinking water is for public health. On World Water Day, March 22, let’s push that one step further: toilets are medicine. A poll by the prestigious British Medical Journal (BMJ) quantified the importance of sanitation facilities, ranking the “introduction of clean water and sewage disposal—‘the sanitary revolution’—as the most important medical milestone since 1840, when the BMJ was first published.” Toilets trumped vaccines, antibiotics, and other important medical milestones, and for good reason: flushing toilets and non-piped sanitation facilities save and improve millions of lives across the globe.

 

Yet it’s 2014 and 768 million people continue to live without safe drinking water, while 2.5 billion live without sanitation. This problem carries enormous health and economic costs, and hundreds of millions of women and girls continue to be used as water and wastewater infrastructure - as pipes - on a daily basis. This, in 2014.

 

It is important that the public be more aware of this challenge, while recognizing that it is being solved by governments and their private sector counterparts across Africa, Asia, and Latin America. But we need to accelerate that progress. Efforts in the U.S. include more sustainable private and corporate philanthropic efforts, increased support on Capitol Hill and within the U.S. Agency for International Development, and millions of Americans actively engaged through civic and faith groups, non-profits, and academia. Even Chelsea Clinton is “obsessed with diarrhea.”

 

The Water Environment Federation and its members are particularly well-placed to lead on this challenge through their personal and corporate efforts, both in the U.S. and across the developing world. Eventually everyone on the planet will have access to both safe drinking water and sanitation: will that be in 2030 or 2300?

Posted by Jonathan Byus at 03/19/2014 11:40:12 AM | 


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John Oldfield  

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 John Oldfield

John Oldfield leads the efforts of WASH Advocates to increase awareness of the global WASH challenge and solutions, and  to  increase the amount and effectiveness of resources devoted  to those solutions throughout the developing world. He  believes strongly that the global safe drinking water,  sanitation, and hygiene challenge is more solvable than it is  difficult.

 Prior to WASH Advocates John was a Vice President at a  New York private equity firm specializing in leveraged  buyouts and corporate divestitures. John has also worked  with The Conference Board and the National Academy of  Sciences, and has extensive international management  experience with USAID and U.S. Department of State  contracts.


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