It is estimated that 20 million people living in rural areas do not have access to proper toilets.
According to a report by the Economics of Sanitation Initiative (ESI) run by the World Bank's Water and Sanitation Programme revealed on May 25, general sanitation conditions in Vietnam were perceived to be poor, scoring just 2.9 out of maximum of 5.0, the lowest acceptable score for an urban environment. The quality of toilets available in public places such as bus stations also scored poorly.
Guy Hutton, a World Bank senior economist, said the study aimed to provide sanitation-decision makers with useful information when it came to formulating better hygiene policies, especially in rural areas where more than 30 percent of the population still lack basic sanitation.
The authorised agencies are advised to raise funds to provide better sanitation services, he said.
The four-year study was launched in 2007 in two phases.
The first phase of the study, which ended in 2008, showed that Vietnam suffered economic losses of US$780 million each year due to poor sanitation.
The second phase focused on analysing the benefits and costs of better sanitation in six countries – Indonesia, Cambodia, China, Lao, the Philippines and Vietnam.