The Thai government said it will launch a campaign to discourage squat toilets in a pledge to end knee-related arthritis and boost tourism.

The Thai Public Health Ministry (PHM) has planned to discourage the use of squat toilets and to replace them with sit-down ones in the country, where over 6 million people are suffering from knee-related arthritis.

PHM Deputy Minister Cholanan Srikaew said that squat toilets are a major contributor to osteoarthritis in the knee.

Osteoarthritis is a form of arthritis, typically found in people of age over 40. It results from heavy usage of joints over the years, and can cause joint pain. Those with osteoarthritis to the knee may have a difficulty walking up stairs, straighten their legs, or walk at all.

About 85 percent of the country's toilets are squat toilets, most of which are in the countryside, according to the ministry.

The ministry also hopes that the campaign will make it easier for tourists to conduct their personal business in Thailand's countryside, thus boosting tourism, which accounts for about 7 percent of the country’s GDP.-VNA