Mission Doctors Association

Lowly Toilet

Today is World Toilet Day. And for those of you who think this is on a par with National Toaster Day (which everyone knows is the last Thursday in February1), it is not so!

More than half the world’s population (4.2 billion people) live without safely managed sanitation.3 673 million people in the world live without any available toilets whatsoever. 2 billion people in the world consume drinking water from sources contaminated with feces which leads to 432,000 deaths every year (including 1000 deaths in children every day4)2, and is a major factor in diseases such as intestinal worms, trachoma, and schistosomiasis.5

Properly designed toilets, however simple, save lives by removing excreta from human contact, protecting people and the environment from disease agents.   They also have additional benefits including increasing attendance rates in school and generating $4.3 in reduced health care costs for every $1 spent on water and sanitation.4 The 2019 World Toilet Day theme of “Leaving No One Behind” emphasizes the importance of expanding sanitation access.3 and underscores the U.N. Sustainable Development Goal 6 aiming for universal sanitation access by 2030.2,6

So this Thanksgiving when you are making a list of all the things you are thankful for, take a moment to add one additional blessing to the list, the lowly toilet.


  1. National Day Calendar



  1. World Toilet Day



  1. Global Waters



  1. World Toilet Organization



  1. United Nations

World Toilet Day, 19 November



  1. United Nations

Sustainable Development Goal 6



Tim Cavanagh, MD


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