Getting to 100% universal access in Bhutan
In 2008, the Sustainable Sanitation and Hygiene for All programme started supporting the government of Bhutan in developing a new approach to sanitation and hygiene. The programme focuses on fostering positive hygiene behaviour change, building demand for improved sanitation, encouraging private sector solutions, and developing effective WASH governance at all levels. It builds on what the community has already accomplished in other areas.
After seven years, there is wide spread recognition that the approach works really well and has been fully endorsed by the Ministry of Health in 2010. With the help of SNV, UNICEF and the Red Cross, the programme has now reached nine of the twenty districts, mobilising families and communities to invest in improved sanitation, without subsidies. To date, 24 sub-districts have reached 100% access to improved sanitation. The government of Bhutan has now made sanitation and hygiene a priority, committing to increasing rural access to improved sanitation and hygiene from 54% to more than 80% by 2018. While this is a big step in the right direction, there is not enough funding available to support this commitment.
Mr. Rinchen Wangdi, Chief of the Public Health Engineering Division said, "Achieving the goals Bhutan has set will require strong leadership and investment from the government (an investment of USD 2.7 per person leads to improved sanitation and hygiene practices district-wide). This means prioritising sanitation and hygiene in budgets, in plans, and in the minds of our local leaders." He added, "If we can do that, we can achieve universal access in Bhutan."