Although Vietnam has made rapid progress in improving adequate access to clean water over the past decades, the poorest communities – particularly the ethnic minorities and those living in remote rural areas – are not gaining as much.
Nation-wide, 1.1 percent of the urban and 8.6 percent of the rural population practice open defecation respectively. Open defecation is largely practiced by the poor (22.9 percent) and ethnic minority groups (27.5 percent). Water contaminated by human waste spreads numerous diseases such as diarrhea, cholera, dysentery, hepatitis A and typhoid, especially in the wake of natural disasters.
Access to safe sanitation and clean water ─ fundamental tools of public health improvement ─ goes hand-in-hand with decent housing. Habitat for Humanity helps to provide families with affordable access to adequate water and sanitation facilities through microloans. Communities also receive educational training in basic health knowledge, the importance of clean water and safe sanitation as well as proper personal hygiene. In addition, Habitat provides technical support for the construction of:
- Rainwater harvesting systems and septic tanks
- Water filters