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Vidya Balan campaigns for sanitation in UP, Bihar

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Lucknow: Bollywood actress Vidya Balan, who is the national sanitation brand ambassador, along with with Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav flagged off an initiative titled “Changing Behavior” Creating Sanitation Change Leaders” here on Tuesday. The project, which aims to make 100 villages in the country’s most populous state open defecation free, is backed by RB (formerly known as Reckitt Benckiser) India as part of its nationwide ‘Dettol Banega Swachh India’ national initiative, Pehel, a division of Shri Puranchandra Gupta Smarak Trust that has been actively involved in awareness generation and the state government.

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“For the past two years, i have dedicated myself towards raising awareness around importance of hygiene and to stop open defecation. I am really proud to be a part of this campaign which is taking a different route of engaging with stakeholders and creating change leaders at community level to bring about this behavior change,” Vidya said in a statement. Through the initiative, the program will reach out and work closely with Panchayati Raj Institutions members, natural and faith-based leaders, Accredited Social Health Activists (ASHAs), Aanganwadi Workers (AWWs) and mothers to drive a positive behaviour towards sanitation practices. It will include various activities like training of Panchayati Raj Institutions members using toolkits, exposure tours, sanitation chaupal, capacity building of frontline health workers through game shows and folk shows for sensitizing mothers. The progress will be monitored at each step to track the progress and achievements of change leaders will be recognised across these 100 villages in the state’s Varanasi, Kannauj and Etawah districts. The campaign was launched with the involvement of dignitaries like veteran actor-politician Shatrughan Sinha and Jack Sim, founder, World Toilet Organization among many others.

“We have a dedicated initiative targeting school children, we believe it is equally important to educate and encourage communities to adopt healthier hygiene and sanitation practices to create a positive impact on the society they live in. By the end of this campaign, we aim to help these 100 villages in Uttar Pradesh become Open Defecation Free,” said RB’s regional director, South Asia, Nitish Kapoor. According to National Sample Survey Office (NSSO) and World Health Organisation (WHO), over 600 million Indians have no access to toilets. The proportion is worse in rural India – where 68 percent of rural households don’t have their own toilets.

(IANS)

 

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Road Traffic Accidents Cause 1.35 Mn Deaths Each Year: WHO

WHO noted that 48 middle- and high-income countries that have implemented strong road traffic laws and other safety measures have made progress in reducing road deaths.

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Traffic Crashes, Road Traffic
Two bikes were involved in an accident with a bus that crashed and turned on its roof near the town of Franschhoek, South Africa, March 7, 2015. VOA

The World Health Organization (WHO) is calling for urgent action to put a brake on road traffic crashes that kill 1.35 million people every year, mostly in poor developing countries.

In Geneva, the U.N. agency launched its global status report on road safety 2018.

The report found road traffic injuries to be the leading killer of children and young people aged five to 29 years, with a death occurring every 24 seconds. The report said more than half of those killed are pedestrians, cyclists, and motorcycle riders and passengers.

Etienne Krug, head of the U.N. Agency’s Department on Disability, Violence and Injury Prevention, called these deaths a huge inequality issue.

Traffic Signals, Road Traffic
Traffic and congestion on roads is frequent in all cities of India. Wikimedia

“Low-income countries have one percent of the vehicles in the world and 13 percent of all the deaths; while high-income countries have 40 percent of all the vehicles,” Krug said. “So, that is 40 times more, but only seven percent of the deaths.That is half of the deaths with 40 times more vehicles.”

The report said death rates are highest in Africa and lowest in Europe. Some of the key risk factors include speeding, drinking and driving, and failure to use seat belts, motorcycle helmets and child restraints.

Krug said putting the right measures in place will save lives. These include the right legislation and enforcement, creating special lanes for cyclists and improving the quality of vehicles.

Road accidents in India
Road accidents in India. Pixabay

“It is not acceptable that vehicles are being sold in developing countries that look the same as the vehicles that we see here in Switzerland or the U.S. or anywhere else, but that are not,” Krug told VOA. “Because to make them cheaper, they have been stripped of all of their safety features, such as air bags or electronic stability control, etc.”

WHO noted that 48 middle- and high-income countries that have implemented strong road traffic laws and other safety measures have made progress in reducing road deaths.

Also Read: HIV Epidemic Spreading Rapidly in Pakistan: WHO

However, it said no such progress has been made in low-income countries where safety measures are lacking. (VOA)