December 24, 2014 – Indoor Plumbing
Anchor lead: Billions around the world don’t used toilets or latrines, Elizabeth Tracey reports
The toileting habits of billions of people around the world are giving rise to a new generation of superbugs, resistant to every drug we have and killing many. Recent studies demonstrate the bugs are already globe-trotting, having been found in the US and elsewhere. Michael Klag, dean of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, describes the problem.
Klag: It is a huge problem. In some countries you know that open defecation is common. Some people prefer it to using latrines. So we can provide toilets, we can provide latrines, but we need to invest in behavior change. We need to educate people about why it’s important to use toilets and latrines, why it’s important not to have open defecation. :20
Klag remains optimistic however.
Klag: With the right social and educational interventions there’s no doubt in my mind that we’re going to reduce that number of 2.5 billion people. :07
A Gates Foundation contest to develop a low-resource toilet may also help. At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.