On 31st of September 2019, Nepal has been declared as an Open-defecation Free (ODF) country. Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli made the declaration on this notable achievement Nepal made at a program. The declaration was made in recognition of all 753 local units of 77 districts that had declared themselves ODF recently.
The declaration would support in the promotion of health and wellbeing of people, reduction in medication expenses, reduction in infection of communicable disease, reduction in mortality rate as well as an increase in life expectancy, says Oli.
Nepal has been able to successfully complete its decade-long ODF campaign. It is a kind of national celebration to mark an important sanitation milestone.
Cholera epidemic caused a public health disaster in the western part of Nepal back in 2009. Since then, the government prioritized sanitation and hygiene in the national development agenda. At that time, Nepal had approximately 40% access to sanitation with wide urban-rural and inter-regional and eco-zone disparities.
After that Mid-Western Region, political leaders, government agencies, and development actors from the whole region were mobilized to respond to the crisis as a collective. Together, they signed a joint commitment in 2010 to move sanitation priorities forward, following a basic set of implementation principles, and with the engagement of multiple sectors at multiple levels.
National Sanitation and Hygiene Master Plan were endorsed in 2011, the plan was based on widespread stakeholder consensus on minimum criteria and coordination mechanisms. For WASH sector stakeholders, it was time to acknowledge that the heavy investment in subsidies for sanitation had not led to any meaningful increase in sanitation access.
Such a “Sanitation Conference” was to become an effective tool in the subsequent years to build momentum for a government-led, politically supported, social movement across the country; at the village, district, region/province, and national levels.
Quick Facts About ODF Nepal
- In 1980, only 2% of Nepalese people had access to a proper toilet. The percentage increased to 6% in 1990 and 33% in 2000.
- 56,60,224 houses have built proper toilet across Nepal.
- Nepal is the first SAARC country to be Open-defecation country.
- Kaski became the first ODF district in 2068 Asar 10 (Sept 27, 2011) and Bhojpur is the last district to became ODF on September 21, 2019.