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10 more poor barangays in NCotabato now 'open defecation-free'

 • 02:17 AM Thu Jul 30, 2015
Malu C. Manar

KIDAPAWAN CITY -At least 10 more poorest barangays in two hinterland towns in North Cotabato were declared open defecation-free by health authorities and a global humanitarian organization. Of the 10 barangays, nine are from President Roxas and the other from Arakan, both located northeast of North Cotabato and part of the newly-created Arakan Valley Development Complex. Data from ACF International, a global humanitarian organization with field office in Kidapawan City, showed that at least 2,719 households from nine barangays of President Rojas have sanitary toilets and proper waste disposal systems. These barangays included Kamarahan with 386 households) Lomonay, 198 New Cebu, 702 Tuael, 450 Datu Inda, 198 Cabangbangan, 242 Bato-bato, 189 and Alegria, 354. Earlier, its 15 barangays were declared open defecation-free, making the town 96 percent Zero Open Defecation (ZOD). The town has 25 barangays. Also, health authorities led by the Integrated Provincial Health Office (IPHO) declared as ZOD Barangay Malibatuan in Arakan, with 1,208 households. In 2013, Barangay Malibatuan recorded an outbreak of diarrhea, a symptom of infection caused by a host of bacterial, viral, and parasitic organisms, most of which can be spread by contaminated water. To date, 21 of the 28 barangays of Arakan are already open defecation-free communities, making the town 75 percent ZOD. A barangay can be declared as ZOD community if it passed requirements set by an authorized government body, including hygiene specialists and international organizations. To achieve ZOD status, each household in a barangay should have access to toilet and water supply and if no one defecates in the open field anymore.The residents in the area should also practice hand washing with soap and water after toilet use, and proper disposal of infants and adults waste and garbage. The ZOD declaration was held Tuesday and attended by IPHO Cotabato chief, Dr. Eva Rabaya LGU chief executives from President Roxas and Arakan rural health units, sanitary inspectors, midwives, and ACF personnel. Local executives from both towns of Arakan and President Roxas said they are committed to sustain hygiene and sanitation projects until they could completely put an end to open defecation. The ACF International has been implementing the project, Scaling Up Sustainable and Resilience Basic Sanitation, Safe Water, and Improved Hygiene Behavior”, with funding support from the United Nation Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF), in North Cotabato in Central Mindanao and Maguindanao in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao. The group employs the strategy, Community-Led Total Sanitation, which facilitates peoples' desire to end open defecation.

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