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China to Renovate Toilets in Rural Areas to Curb Bilharzia
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China is to subsidize the renovation of one million public toilets in its rural areas this year to combat the spread of bilharzia.


Government investment will also help build 780,000 methane tanks during 2006 and 2007, according to the Ministry of Health.


A total of 4,532 key bilharzia-stricken villages in the provinces of Jiangsu, Anhui, Jiangxi, Hubei, Hunan, Sichuan and Yunnan will benefit from the two projects, the ministry said.


There have been urgent calls for better treatment of human and animal waste in China as these are channels through which the parasitic disease can easily spread.


China has a high incidence rate of the Bilharzia in 12 provinces and regions south of the Yangtze River.


The disease has been hard to control in the past owing to poor waste treatment in fields, rural latrines, fishing boats and water.


By the end of last year, China had spent 19.5 billion yuan (US$2.4 billion) in renovating rural toilets, according to the Ministry of Health.  


(Xinhua News Agency September 16, 2006)



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