July 19, 2024

The City Health Services Office (CHSO) believes the city has achieved its target of 100 percent zero open defecation (ZOD) compliance after all of the city’s 128 barangays earned ZOD status under the Department of Health program that aims to scale up sanitation in communities.

However, the 100 percent citywide (ZOD) status will only become official after verification and declaration by the DOH.

As per the DOH guidelines, ZOD or grade 1 (G1) status is achieved when the “households have stopped practicing open defecation and are using sanitary toilet facilities and no human feces are openly visible or exposed to the environment.”

In fact, 111 barangays have even surpassed the basic ZOD status and leveled up to grade 2 (G2) or basic sanitation status wherein “households, schools, child development centers and public institutional facilities have their own sanitary toilets that are functional and communities properly manage animal excreta, and properly dispose their solid waste in addition to maintaining the norm that open defecation is unacceptable.”

The CHSO under Dr. Rowena Galpo held an awarding program for the barangays last Oct. 5 where 34 barangays were awarded their G1 status to complete the line-up.  The other 94 barangays had been awarded in 2021.

The 111 barangays which achieved the G2 status were also feted during the program.

Mayor Benjamin Magalong lauded the CHSO for guiding the barangays into complying with the program as he challenged the barangays towards sustaining the program which he said is important as it concerns the health of their constituents.

The ZOD program is a major DOH strategy in upgrading sanitation program development in line with the National Sustainable Sanitation Plan initially.  Subsequently it was upgraded through the Philippine Approach to Sustainable Sanitation (PhATSS) program. Under the PhATSS, the DOH targets that 100 percent of the barangays nationwide must be declared ZOD by 2025. – Aileen P. Refuerzo