Save our rural residents : The human being is the most unique architect of the almighty, who got tremendous power to change the social, economic, and cultural landscape of the earth.
Human’s ultimate power is reflected in their well-being and health. Today, it’s been more than 70 years of hard-fought independence of India, where 65% of the population is living in a rural area many dying every year because of lack of sanitation.
From ancient times itself, we can see significance of sanitation and health in India, i.e., Indus valley civilization, Mauryans, and Guptas dynasty, and also by our social reformers. Even Gandhiji said, “cleanliness is more important than swaraj”.
Prevalence of rural sanitation is a serious issue as four lakh children die annually because of cholera, dysentery, and stunted growth.
Similarly high prevalence of diarrhea, jaundice in India is the reason for high mortality under age five,.
According to the World Bank inadequate sanitation account for the loss of $53.8 billion every year, i.e., on an average $48 per capita loss.
According to World Bank rural sanitation is all about provision of good quality water supply, access to latrines, house sanitary improvement, health education, and child immunization. Also from Indian prospective eradication of manual scavenging which is an extreme form of human dignity deprivation leading to various health hazards due to direct contact with human feces.
The various initiative came after independence like Central Rural Sanitation Program (CRSP) to improve the quality of life of rural people and provide privacy to women, Total Sanitation Campaign (TSC) to promote community-led and people-centered initiatives and construction of toilets.
Then in 2014, Swach Bharat Mission (SBM) launched by the prime minister to make India open defecation free which indeed was successful. Eventually, in 2019 it has been upgraded with the additional objective of open defecation + open urination free country.
Swach Bharat Mission with the objective of conversion insanitary toilet to pour flush toilets, eradicating manual scavenging, 100% collection and scientific processing/disposal/reuse/recycling of solid waste, behavior change, awareness, and private sector participation.
The overall success of this mission due to mass participation, therefore it is a model accepted by many African counties especially Ethiopia.
Yes, we have reached some milestone but there is a lot to achieve yet. According to NSS, 12.4% of rural areas are not having sufficient drinking water supply throughout the year. Still in India, there exist a state who do not get piped water supply, the effect of which could be seen in the COVID-19 scenario.
Today India is finding it difficult to curb COVID-19 because of poor rural sanitation as is a concern with many migrant workers coming home for survival and need.
With the advent of COVOD-19, it allows improving rural sanitation by the center and state government to provide safe and quality drinking water supply and improving poor hygiene practices by spreading awareness among rural people, improving health facilities, and creating a clean and secure environment.
As the whole country is on alert it is time for rapid implementation of policies. It is the right time for NGOs to help the government in educating and providing knowledge about biology and ecosystem and switching to the best sanitation practices in a rural area.
So, yes without complete awareness on rural sanitation in India we cannot improve its health wider.
Save our rural residents from COVID 19 by rural sanitation in India
AUTHOR:- VIVEK SINGH
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