VietNamNet Bridge – According to a survey by the Ministry of Health, 20 percent of the country’s population is living in very unhygienic conditions.
People living in Tien River use river water that is untreated for daily activities and drinking. (Photo: SGGP)
Moreover, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has said that one out of four Vietnamese lives in an unhygienic environment, with the proportion being higher in rural areas.
Dr. Nguyen Thanh Long, Deputy Health Minister, said that some fatal diseases are transmitted through the digestive system as people use water from unhygienic sources that is not treated.
This leads to outbreak of diarrhea, cholera, typhoid, and hand-foot-mouth diseases at any time. This is also cause of a higher death rate.
Health agencies in rural areas are being blamed for lax practices and nor tackling clean environment issues, especially in providing adequate restrooms. Long said if each household has a standard restroom, the rate of underweight and stunted children will reduce drastically.
Low awareness of hygiene has worsened matters. Many people believe standard restrooms are a luxury and not a necessity related to health and environment of the community.
In addition, cooperation between water agencies is not good, and the government has not called for the contribution of all economic sectors in building a good water supply.
Government needs to invest in a better water supply system as well as create awareness programs for residents in rural areas.