Eastern Visayas’s Zero Open Defecation Program (ZODP) experienced its fair share of bottlenecks, primarily due to the COVID-19 pandemic, as ZOD implementation programs and sanitation inspections came to a halt. Contrary to the National Sustainable Sanitation Plan’s target of 100% ZOD barangays by 2022, the region is currently at 36 out of 143 ZOD cities/municipalities (or 1,536 out of 4,390 barangays) as of September 2022. This is some improvement to 33 out of 143 ZOD cities/municipalities (1487/4,390 Barangays) during the beginning of the year.
Acknowledging the importance of universal access to safe and adequate sanitary facilities, the EVCHD Environmental and Occupational Health (EOH) Unit’s current thrusts comprise of (1) conducting capacity-building programs & technical assistance to LGU sanitation inspectors/coordinators on ZOD implementation and other EOH programs; (2) providing logistics augmentation to the LGUs; (3) providing monetary incentives to all ZOD-declared cities/municipalities, and (4) providing recognition to all ZOD-declared LGUs.
As such, during the Regional Awarding of Health Achievers last September 15, 2022, 13 municipalities were given monetary incentives and due recognition—3 of which were declared in 2022, 4 of which were declared in 2021, while 6 of which were declared in 2019.
As the economy is opening up and the DOH’s non-covid related health programs are starting to be given light again, the EVCHD EOH Unit commits to further intensify its ZOD health promotion activities at the provincial, city, and municipal level through the assistance of the Health Promotions and Media Affairs Unit. Capacity building activities for newly hired sanitation inspectors of LGUs will be further strengthened, and the recognition & provision of monetary incentives to ZOD declared cities/municipalities shall likewise continue.