Honiara, 19 November 2023 – The Solomon Islands Government is pleased to mark World Toilet Day on 19 November 2023. This global event aims to raise awareness about the importance of proper sanitation and the need for access to clean and safe toilets for everyone. This year’s theme, “Accelerating Change,” resonates deeply with our ongoing efforts to working effectively and efficiently in reducing open defecation and promoting household access to basic sanitation.
The government of the Solomon Islands recognizes the pivotal role that sanitation plays in ensuring public health and preventing the spread of diseases. Access to proper sanitation facilities is not just a basic human right; it is a cornerstone for the overall development and prosperity of our nation.
Over the past years, we have taken significant steps to address sanitation challenges in both urban and rural areas in the country. For instance, through partnership with UNICEF and DFAT, the implementation of the National Sustainable Sanitation Plan (NSSP) has seen many households across the provinces embracing ownership and self-reliance to build their toilets.
However, significant challenges still exist as 49.5% of the population still defecate in the open according to the 2019 population and housing census report; and only 35% of our population have access to basic sanitation.
Figure 1: PHC 2019
The situation is even more worrying in the province. Five out of the nine provinces in the country have an open defecation rate of over 60%. This has enormous negative impact on health and economic outcomes of the people and the county at large.
The Solomon Islands Government, like many others across the world has committed to ending open defecation and having a universal access to basic sanitation in the country by 2030. Should we as a country continue the rate of progress witnessed in the last 20 years, it will take us several decades to realize the dream of achieving ‘one house, one toilet’. The country needs an estimated 12,100 household toilets to be constructed annually over the next 7 years to achieve the targets of Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 6.
The government of Solomon Islands through the RWASH programme under the Ministry of Health and Medical Services (MHMS) is working collaboratively with the provincial governments, local communities, non-governmental organizations, and development partners to achieve our SDG commitments for sanitation. Together, we are creating a framework that fosters innovation, community engagement, and the empowerment of individuals to adopt and maintain healthy sanitation practices.
On this World Toilet Day, I call upon all citizens to recognize the importance of sanitation in our daily lives. Let us strive to own and use toilet facilities in our homes and ensuring their proper upkeep and cleanliness. By doing so, we contribute not only to our own health and well-being but also to the broader goal of creating a healthier and more sustainable Solomon Islands.
As we mark World Toilet Day, let us renew our commitment to achieving universal access to clean and safe toilets, leaving no one behind. Together, we can build a healthier and more prosperous future for all.