On 19 November the world observes the UN's World Toilet Day. There are many reasons to celebrate a hygienic toilet, chief among them that it is one of the most important health devices in a house, along with clean water supply.
Toilets provide an important health function by separating users from faecal material that can be the source of many waterborne illnesses, including cholera and diarrhoea, and soil-transmitted diseases, such as intestinal worms.
A lack of hygienic toilet facilities has detrimental consequences for humans. The World Health Organisation estimates that inadequate sanitation causes 432,000 diarrhoeal deaths, with mainly young children among the victims.
Lack of sanitation also contributes to malnutrition, lost educational opportunities and a lack of dignity. Knock-on effects on a country can be significant and it is estimated that in 2015 poor sanitation cost the global economy about $222-billion (R3-trillion) - a 22% increase on 2010 - mainly through mortality, loss of productivity, the burden on healthcare for preventable diseases and the time used in gaining access to a toilet.
Despite the many societal benefits of providing hygienic sanitation, about two billion people in the world do not have basic facilities, with nearly 700 million having to relieve...