3 Children Die Every Minute Due To Improper Sanitation: How Can We Stop Open Defecation?

Posted on June 12, 2014 in Health and Life, Society

By Mayank Jain:

“No innovation in the past 200 years has done more to save lives and improve health than the sanitation revolution triggered by invention of the toilet,” Sylvia Burwell succinctly certified the importance of toilets and access to sanitation for our well-being in these words.

The tough reality though, is that they have been able to reach only one third of the world. India is one of the biggest victims of lack of sanitation. Almost 2.2 million deaths occur in the world because of diseases related to sanitation. Diarrhea, one of the biggest killers that stems from lack of sanitation and open defecation, kills more people than HIV/AIDS, malaria and measles combined.

According to an analysis done by AskHow India, in the rural areas, almost 3 out of 4 households defecate in the open while the country’s 61 children out of every 100 born are unlikely to make it to their 5th birthday due to unhygienic birth conditions and environment.

Even though 69% of Indian villages do not have access to toilets, wherever they are available, it is likely that people don’t want to use them for various reasons. The major challenge in helping people switch to toilets from defecating in the open, is their mind-set which has concreted over the years. Only 40% people have toilet structures in their homes but most have access to TV sets and mobile phones.

The challenge is to build stable and accessible toilets that withstand the test of times and give every household a chance at a healthier life. The toilet delivery should be improved and they should be made more spacious, better ventilated and stronger. The focus should be on hiring more volunteers and community heroes who champion the cause and take it up in a way that leaves an impact on the unaware minds.

Here is a presentation by AskHow India that details the critical issue: