Believe it or not, it is true. In fact, I experienced that first hand back in my elementary days.
I spent my elementary days in a public school. Back then, there were only 40-50 students per class, around 8-10 sections per level, and just two shifts: morning and afternoon. Our school’s facilities are ok, except for the toilets. If I am not mistaken, the only clean ones are that of the faculty’s and that of the preschool students as that is inside their classroom. I was in 5th or 6th grade when I missed a whole week of lesson as I suffered from Urinary Track Infection (UTI) probably because I keep on skipping my need to pee due to the dirty toilets. And that was yearsssss ago. It makes me think now how the toilets in public schools look like these days when the students have multiplied drastically.
I am sure, I am not the only one who missed school days because of being sick due to poor toilet sanitation.
According to a study conducted by the World Health Organization (WHO), children around the world miss an estimated 443 million school days each year because of diseases caused by poor sanitation and hygiene practices, including using unsanitary toilets. Simply put, this number of sick days is equivalent to all grade school and high school classrooms in the Philippines being empty for one month. This sanitation-related concern hinders the children’s learning and significantly reduces their quality of life.
Illnesses due to poor toilet sanitation include diarrhoeal disease and parasitic worm infections which can lead to nutritional deficiencies, physical and mental stunting, and death. Every day, millions of children in rural communities and urban households nationwide are exposed to these health problems by using dirty toilets populated by disease-carrying germs.
According to Dr. Luisa Efren of the Philippine Public Health Association (PPHA), the simple act of proper toilet sanitation can help prevent the spread of these germs. However, children continue to be at risk from these deadly diseases because many households still use ordinary laundry bleach to clean their toilet bowls, which is not enough to kill all toilet germs.
“A toilet that looks clean to the naked eye may not necessarily be free from germs and bacteria. So, it is very important to properly sanitize all surfaces using a germ-kill expert with proven efficacy in eliminating bacteria, and not just any ordinary laundry bleach,” Dr. Efren warned.
For the past three years, Unilever Philippines through its germ-kill expert brand Domex, has been working with UNICEF and PPHA to champion the One Million Clean Toilets Movement. This advocacy program aims to educate Filipinos on proper toilet hygiene and the need for sanitized household toilets to keep their families safe against disease-causing germs.
On November 13, World Toilet Day, I will join the One Million Clean Toilets Movement in the fight against disease causing germs to save lives, one clean toilet at a time. To learn more about Domex and how you can stay safe from disease with a germ-free home, visit Domex Philippines on Facebook.
You can also help the 1 Million Clean Toilets Movement fight against disease by spreading awareness on the sanitation issue caused by unsanitary toilets. Watch and share the “Sick Days” video below to help keep your family and friends germ-free.