How sanitation and health are inextricably linked

Sanitation and health are inextricably linked. A healthy way of life necessitates proper sanitation and hygiene. By keeping their surroundings clean and organised, one can live a long, healthy life while avoiding infections and diseases.

The lack of routine handwashing in India, as well as microbial contamination of their drinking water, raises the risk of diarrheal and waterborne disease transmission. Open defecation regularly exposed Indian children to excrement through direct contact. 

Impacts of sanitation

As a result of the situation, nearly 100,000 children under the age of five died from diarrhoea. Contaminated water can contain toxic pollutants, microbes and its consumption can cause cholera, typhoid, dysentery etc. 

Nearly half of India’s population—more than 626 million people—defecates outside on a regular basis, and this behaviour has been implicated as a key contributor to the country’s high stunting statistics – it affects 48% of the country’s children in 2005-2006. India has over 48 million children with stunted growth, which is much more than the rest of the world. 

Lack of awareness and habit of hygienic practices

There is a lack of awareness about correct ways to maintain hygiene in a lot of places. One needs to wash their hands with soap to maintain cleanliness. However, these hygiene practices are not yet developed fully. 

50% of people in India do not wash their hands after defecating. Very less people wash their hands before eating or before handling food. In rural areas, only about 10% of households dispose of their waste properly, with the majority of waste being thrown in the trash or left outside.

When it comes to menstruation, there is stigma and taboo. Accessing safe, hygienic products is not affordable at times. Women take recourse to ash, hay, rags etc which causes infections like UTIs. 

What should one do?

It is important to spread awareness and spread the message about correct and hygienic health practices. Join Fikrah and contribute to our causes to ensure health and sanitation is ensured for all.