Five villages in Na Tau commune of the northwestern province of Dien Bien have hygienic toilets meeting the health ministry’s standards on sanitation.

Hong Liu 1, Na Tau 1, Na Luong 2, Na Luong 3 and Co Dua have become the first nationwide to be acknowledged by the ministry for building toilets for households.

A ceremony was held on June 29 to mark this event.

Na Tau commune is one of the first localities in the country to pilot the community-based construction of clean toilets launched by the ministry in 2009.

The five-year-old project has helped increase local awareness of personal hygiene and environmental sanitation.

As of May, more than 96 percent of households had toilets. The rate of clean toilets surged to 75 percent from a mere 2.6 percent in 2009.

According to the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), over 45 percent of rural families in Vietnam either defecate in the open or use unhygienic toilets. Poor sanitation is blamed for diarrhea and pneumonia which are the main causes of dealth among children under five.-VNA