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Vidya Balan campaigns for sanitation in UP, Bihar

Vidya Balan.

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.


“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.



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WHO Investigates Reason for Mass HIV Outbreak in Pakistan

Initial investigations indicated the infections were not intentional

HIV outbreak
Police say the infections were most likely caused by reusing syringes. (illustrative photo) RFERL

A World Health Organization (WHO) team has begun investigating an HIV outbreak in an impoverished district of Sindh Province in southern Pakistan.

Sikandar Memom, director of the Sindh Province HIV/AIDS program, told RFE/RL’s Radio Mashaal on May 31 that the WHO team will be looking for the cause of the outbreak in the Ratho Dhero part of Laraka District, where hundreds of new HIV-positive cases – mostly children – have been discovered in the past few weeks.

Pakistan, HIV Outbreak
FILE – A Pakistani paramedic takes a blood sample from a girl for a HIV test at a state-run hospital in Rato Dero in the district of Larkana of the southern Sindh province, May 9, 2019. VOA

Memon said his department had tested 25,000 people for HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, since late April and found 725 infected people, including 590 children.

ALSO READ: Pakistan Trying to Fight with it’s Biggest HIV Outbreak

Larkana District Police Senior Superintendent Masood Bangash told RFE/RL’s Radio Mashaal that the infections were most likely caused by reusing syringes.

He said one doctor had been arrested and charged with reusing syringes, adding that more doctors were likely involved in the outbreak. Initial investigations indicated the infections were not intentional, Bangash said. (RFERL)