Home India Building Comm...

Building Community Toilets cannot counter open defecation in Rural India: WHO

The mere availability of government-built latrines will not end open defecation, we need awareness and education regarding this

1
Children in slum in India. Wikimedia

Sept 21, 2016: A new World Health Organisation (WHO) report concludes that more than half of the Indian population still “continue to defecate in gutters, behind bushes or in open water bodies, with no dignity or privacy”.

And how are we supposed to cure this?

Proper sanitation is a big threat to our health conditions that India’s politicians have tried tackling since ages. Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), both promised to put an end to open defecation in their 2014 general election manifestos and kept this issue as one of the most important agendas in the election.

PM Narendra Modi, once said during his election campaign, “Toilets first, temples later”.

And the former rural development minister from Congress Jairam Ramesh had also asserted on the fact that, “practising good hygiene is as important as performing good puja” ( the act of worship in Hinduism).

Well, let’s have a look at the government sanitation policy to date for a moment.

Open defecation in India is catastrophic, when done in groups. Wikimedia Commons
Open defecation in India is catastrophic when done in groups. Wikimedia

For the past 15 years, two major campaigns are into action to eradicate the issue of poor sanitation in India: the Total Sanitation Campaign and the Nirmal Bharat Abhiyan. These two have been trying to improve sanitation predicament across the non-urban areas of India by building both household and community latrines, mentioned riceinstitute.org.

But despite all the efforts, there has been very slight change in our plight regarding open defecation. In fact, from 2001 to 2011, latrine coverage in rural India increased by about one percentage point each year. At this rate, it would take the concerned authorities almost 50 years to eliminate open defecation to an extent, if not completely.

Follow NewsGram on Twitter

And hence, continuing with the same plan of action is, therefore, not going to help achieve the government’s goal.

According to riceinstitute.org, a broader matter of concern is public health. The issue of open defecation is catastrophic when practised by groups in close contact with each other. Because India’s population is huge, population density is alarming and growing rapidly hence it is impossible to keep human faeces from crops, wells, food, soil and children’s hands.

The ingested bacteria spread diseases, especially related to the intestine. They cause enteropathy, a chronic illness that prevents the body from absorbing calories and nutrients.

That helps to explain that in spite of rising incomes and better diets, rates of child malnourishment in India has not shown much improve.

UN’s agency for children, the UNICEF has estimated that nearly one-half of Indian children remain malnourished.

Pouring concrete will not solve India’s problems. Leaders and political organisations also need to confront the cultural and archaic reasons responsible for bad sanitation.

Eradicating open defecation from Indian society requires changing minds, not just allocating money to building latrines for people that will either go unused or not be built at all.

Under the current sanitation policy, there is a provision for Information, Education, and Communication, (IEC) but the spending on such activities is restricted to 15 percent of the whole budget signalling that it should be considered secondary to latrine construction.

Consequently, only six per cent of the total sanitation budget has been spent on IEC to date. Instead of capping the IEC budget, the government should be prioritising it, because awareness always helps.

Pieces of evidence show that India must urgently correct its cultural practices, though it is sensitive to say so. Apart from poverty and lack of lavatories, prioritising reasons often cited to explain open defecation in India is the innate cultural norm making the practice socially acceptable in some parts of the society. Researchers found that only a quarter of rural householders understood that washing hands help prevent diarrhoea.

Follow NewsGram on Facebook

This suggests that the mere availability of government-built latrines will not end open defecation. The need of the hour is the public campaigns, in schools and in the media, to explain the hygienic and fiscal benefaction of using toilets.

A catchy animated music video put out by UNICEF urges Indians to “take the poo to the loo”. The intention is right, even if the dancing turds will not immediately be to everyone’s taste.

Such campaigns not only mean that government-built latrines will possess a better chance of being used; they would also encourage households to build them for themselves.

– prepared by Arya Sharan of NewsGram. Twitter: @NoOffense9

  • Anubhuti Gupta

    The need for sanitation awareness is not taken up enough in our country although it is equally if not more important than other issues like education and such

Next Story

Manushi Chhillar Joins Hands with UNICEF to Promote Menstrual Hygiene

Manushi believes there still is silence and misinformation

0
Manushi Chhillar
Manushi is all set to promote the need to educate girls with all information on maintaining hygiene. Wikimedia Commons

Former Miss World and Bollywood debutant Manushi Chhillar has joined hands with Unicef to promote menstrual hygiene as she says there still is silence and misinformation.

On World Menstrual Hygiene Day on Thursday, Manushi will be promoting the need to educate girls with all information on maintaining hygiene, constructing adequate sanitation facilities and providing quick access to feminine hygiene products.

“Menstruation is still a taboo and we will have to work hard towards ensuring that every girl, every woman in every corner of our country is safe,” said Manushi, who has participated in the UNICEF global initiative called the Red Dot Challenge – a symbol adopted by the world body to depict menstrual cycle.

Manushi, who also runs her own initiative on menstrual hygiene called Project Shakti, said that every girl has the right to accurate information about her body.

“Every young girl has the right to accurate information about her body. Without the right information, girls often don’t know how to safely manage their period. There still is silence and misinformation. We have come a long way but a lot still needs to be done.

strip
“Without the right information, girls often don’t know how to safely manage their period.”, Manushi was quoted saying. Pixabay

“We all need to contribute towards raising awareness on this. I’m proud and honoured to be associated with UNICEF for this novel initiative that aims at debunking misinformation, taboos and also raise awareness on this critical issue.”

Also Read: NASA, SpaceX Postpone Historic Astronauts Launch Due to Bad Weather

Manushi is all set to make her Bollywood debut opposite superstar Akshay Kumar in the upcoming film “Prithviraj”.

Directed by Chandraprakash Dwivedi, “Prithviraj” is based on the life of king Prithviraj Chauhan. It stars Akshay as Prithviraj, while Manushi will play the role of the Sanyogita, the love of his life. (IANS)

Next Story

COVID-19 Restrictions Cause Disruption in Vaccination Programs: WHO, Other Organisations

Vaccination Programes have been disrupted because of the restrictions imposed in the wake of COVID-19 pandemic

0
Vaccination
A health worker injects a man with Ebola vaccine in Goma, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Aug. 5, 2019. VOA

Nearly 80 million children under age 1 are at higher risk of preventable diseases such as measles, cholera and polio because of the disruption of routine vaccination programs, according to a report released Friday by the World Health Organization and other global organizations.

Immunization campaigns have been disrupted in half of the 129 countries surveyed around the world in March and April, according to data produced by the WHO, UNICEF, the Sabin Vaccine Institute, and Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance. Of the 68 countries, 27 have suspended their measles initiatives. Thirty-eight countries have suspended campaigns to vaccinate children against polio.

The COVID-19 pandemic is “walking back progress” that was made in vaccinating children around the world, putting children and their families at greater risk of diseases that routine vaccinations can prevent, Seth Berkley, CEO of Gavi, said.

“More children in more countries are now protected against more vaccine-preventable diseases than at any point in history,” Berkley said in a statement. “Due to COVID-19, this immense progress is now under threat, risking the resurgence of diseases like measles and polio. Not only will maintaining immunization programs prevent more outbreaks, but it will also ensure we have the infrastructure we need to roll out an eventual COVID-19 vaccine on a global scale.”

vaccination
Experts said a decline in vaccinations in one country could have consequences for other countries.VOA

Fearing doctor visits

Routine immunization has been hindered for many reasons.

Some parents are no longer taking their children to clinics and hospitals out of fear of exposure to the virus, while others are unable to do so because of lockdowns.

The delivery of vaccines and required protective equipment has been delayed in many countries because of a cutback in commercial flights and chartered plane availability.

Health care workers also have been relocated to help fight the pandemic, leaving fewer to administer vaccinations.

UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta Fore said that to combat this decline in immunizations, countries need to intensify efforts to find and track unvaccinated children, address gaps in delivery and develop innovative solutions.

The consequences if countries are unable to give routine immunizations, “can be deadly,” Fore said.

Also Read: National Capital Delhi Makes a Gradual Comeback

Experts are concerned that deaths from normally preventable diseases could surpass coronavirus deaths if vaccination efforts are not reinstated.

Berkley, of Gavi, requested $7.4 billion for vaccination efforts over the next five years.

Experts said a decline in vaccinations in one country could have consequences for other countries.

Dr. Kate O’Brien, director of WHO’s Department of Immunization, Vaccines and Biologicals, said inoculation efforts should be viewed as a “global public good” because “pathogens do not recognize borders,” and if one country is at risk of an outbreak, all countries are at risk. (VOA)

Next Story

IMPPA Clarifies Rumours of Shoot Restart, Says Decision Remains Pending

IMPPA dispels rumours of shoot restart in Mumbai

0
IMPPA
Rumours have been floating on WhatsApp about IMPPA, that the shooting of Tv Serials may resume by June-end. Pixabay

Dispelling reports that shooting of films and television shows is going to start soon in Mumbai with a new set of rules, Indian Motion Picture Producers Association (IMPPA) declared that all such news is false and no decision has yet been taken on the matter, according to Covid-19 pandemic in India updates.

Unconfirmed reports had been doing the rounds since last evening, especially on WhatsApp, specifying names of office bearers of Federation of Western India Cine Employees (FWICE) and stating that shooting of TV serials shall start around June-end.

Issuing a statement, IMPPA president TP Aggarwal clarified: “To verify the authenticity of the news, as no such decision or guidelines have ever been agreed to by all the Producers’ Associations, the undersigned spoke to Mr. Ashok Dubey, Gen Secretary of FWICE who informed that all such news and information of such decisions and guidelines being implemented by FWICE was totally false and baseless as no such decision has been taken till date. FWICE also confirmed that no such decision or guideline shall be finalized unless all the Producers’ Associations agree to the same.”

The statement further read: “Therefore, we have to inform all producers and everyone else concerned with the film and entertainment industry that any decision or guideline relating to the industry restarting after Coronavirus or any such the matter shall be valid and subsisting only if the same is countersigned and authenticated besides FWICE by all the Producers’ Association’s including by President of IMPPA.”

video
The circulated WhatsApp message mentioned that FWICE has issued guidelines for the restart of shoot. Pixabay

Also Read: Indian Workers Miss Office as Work From Home Becomes the New normal

The circulated WhatsApp message mentioned that FWICE has issued guidelines that an inspector and an ambulance would have to be present on every set at all times and, though only 50 per cent workers will be allowed to work, the producer would have to pay all workers. The message added that if anything untoward happens to any worker due to coronavirus, the concerned producer would have to pay compensation of Rs 50 lakh to the affected worker.

IMPPA has urged media and every member of the film trade not to pay heed tpo these unconfirmed reports or spread such information, especially in the time of global pandemic. (IANS)