WHO exec: Sanitation answer to health woes

Published by rudy Date posted on March 26, 2009

MANILA, Philippines—An official of the World Health Organization (WHO) on Thursday urged the government to put more resources into sanitation to control communicable diseases.

“More resources should be placed on sanitation because sanitation changes the hygienic behavior of a person,” Dr. Soe Nyunt-U, WHO Philippine representative told INQUIRER.net.

“Improving the quality of service, paying close attention to food and water safety, building good and sanitary infrastructures, promoting hygienic lifestyles, all of that will help the Philippines contract communicable diseases,” he said.

“We have typhoid outbreaks, cholera, measles, AIDS [acquired immunodeficiency syndrome]. You know, these are diseases that are common in the Philippines. Communicable diseases are usually more common in developing countries, [such as] nations in the Asia-Pacific region,” Nyunt-U said.

“The recent Calamba typhoid outbreak is an example of a communicable disease that the Philippines should look into. Government should address [this and], if something needs to be repaired, repair,” he said, referring to an outbreak in early March that affected hundreds of people in Calamba City in Laguna that was reportedly caused by contaminated water.

He also said that no one is too young to be educated about health measures. “In health, [in] society, you have to be realistic. Children, teenagers, couples, need to know these safety measures to protect themselves from diseases.”

Nyunt-U also batted for the use of condoms to control the spread of AIDS and HIV (human immunodeficiency virus).

Asked about Pope Benedict XVI’s admonition against the use of condoms during a recent visit to Africa, Nyunt-U said: “That is the Catholic point of view. But from a health point of view, we are for 100 percent use of condoms, especially for the sex workers and their clients, or those who are engaging in the act with multiple partners.”

“It has been proven that the use of condoms, where there is a generalized epidemic, will decrease disease transmission. We have Bangkok, Cambodia, [where] statistics show that [the spread of the] disease decreased when use of condoms was promoted,” he said.–Erika Tapalla, INQUIRER.net

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