Dentists are blazing a trail by being the first in the UK to sign up their surgery loos to a global toilet twinning campaign, linking them with latrines deep in the African bush.
The unusual charity fundraiser is making a splash with staff and patients alike at the Chipping Manor Dental Practice in Gloucestershire.
For just £60, twinning can help a family returning home to Burundi, a tiny country ravaged by years of civil war, to rebuild their lives from scratch.
Every ‘twinner’ receives a picture of their exclusive twin latrine to hang in their loo, complete with its Google Earth location so they can pinpoint it in the remote Rutana Province of Burundi.
The toilet twinning is the brainchild of UK International charity CORD which works in Africa and Asia with the victims of war and violent conflict.
Business development director, Shaenna Loughnane, said: ‘Our two NHS practices in Wotton under Edge and Cirencester have 10 dentist and nurse teams and 23,000 patients and this has really captured their imagination.’
‘Our patients and staff take our clean safe toilets for granted, and for £60 we can make a tiny difference. This is the same amount that we spend on 20 boxes of gloves that lasts a dental team twp weeks. It would be great if we could motivate others in the dental industry to jump on board; practices spend thousands every year on infection control and health and safety when people in these war-torn areas are dying from diseases that could be stopped if only they had clean, safe toilets.’
The dentists and their staff have already raised thousands for African and local charities; ten team members have also visited Tanzania to lend their dental skills as well as giving 10% of their private income to good causes.
‘But Toilet Twinning has to be the one that’s got everyone talking,’ laughed Shaenna.
It is estimated that 40% of the world’s population – 2.6 billion people – do not have access to a toilet, yet the Millennium Development Goals for sanitation will not be met until the 22nd century, 80 years past the deadline.
Left lying around, human waste is a killer with a child dying every seventeen seconds from diarrhoeal diseases.
Without proper sanitation and health training, Burundians can’t hope to keep well, to work, go to school and begin to rebuild their country.
To twin your loo, visit www.toilettwinning.org or call CORD on 01926 315301.