Eleven villages of Koraput and Semiliguda blocks in Odisha's Koraput district with a total of 522 households have become open defecation free (ODF) as the villagers have started using 'pucca' toilets constructed at their houses.

"All the 96 families of our village have toilets and open defecation is a matter of the past. Villagers, mostly tribals, use their toilets and there is strict prohibition on open defecation," said Kamala Jani, an elderly woman of Chandramundar village, 60 km from here, in Koraput block.

Along with Chandramundar, Chakarliguda, Khaparaput, Gandhiput, Station Suku, Maluguda and Haldiput of Koraput block and Bandguda, Doraguda, Jagamput and Sadam of Semiluguda block have become ODF.

It was not easy to inculcate the toilet culture in the villagers as they were habituated to defecating in the open. It took a series of awareness camps by the district administration to make the villagers conscious about ill-effects of open defecation.

"When we approached the villagers to construct individual toilets at their home their response was negative. The villagers were reluctant to construct toilets," said Debasish Patnaik, coordinator of district water and sanitary mission (DWSM), Koraput.

"We were determined and made the villagers realize the ill-effects of open defecation through a string of street plays, posters and pictorial presentations," he added.

Once the villagers understood how they are suffering from various diseases like diarrhea and malaria due to defecating in the open, they gradually followed our advice, Patnaik said.

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