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‘Sanitation’

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Poor sanitation, lack of access to clean water, and inadequate personal hygiene are responsible for an estimated 88% of childhood diarrhea in India. Taking action to improve health requires understanding the factors that influence exposure to faecal pathogens and the various pathways in which they are exposed to human beings.

With limited access to sanitation facilities, Nigeria has historically been among the top countries in the world seeing open defecation. Apart from the environmental challenges, this is also blooming into a full-blown health crisis for the country.

Diarrhoea, that slightly embarrassing infection we avoid talking about when we suffer from it! We often consider diarrhoea as something not very serious, yet in India it has become the second biggest killer of children under age five. Around the world annually more than 500000 children under five lose their lives due to severe dehydration caused by diarrhoea.

The buzzing of the crowd, vendors ringing their bells, calling out their wares. The intoxicating smell of vada pav overpowered by a baser and horribly unpleasant aroma. Human faeces in clumps on the railway track and flies everywhere. I was at Kurla station to greet a friend. That said, I could be at any long distance railway station in India and it would look and smell the same.

Though we may have heard that manual scavenging is a thing of the past, the reality check is a shocker. In a small time span of just about a month, as many as 10 sanitation workers died. The only relief, though too late for the poor souls lost is that the government has responded with prompt action and focused on the implementation part of the law it had framed long ago.

On the eve of India’s 70th independence day, we all are grateful to our ancestors for the freedom we enjoy today. During the struggle for freedom, it was patriotism that burnt in the hearts of every Indian. Today as we are raising slogans of patriotic sentiments and agitating against various issues, I found we lost those flames that made 15th August 1947 happen. Its not a date or an event it is a message, that the country we live in is our “Motherland” and she belongs to us and us alone. Does this feeling resonates among all of us today? Are we still so loving towards our Motherland? I don’t think the answer to all is a “Yes”. India is leading its march to make its mark all across the globe. But that is not the big picture, India with a a rural population of 68.84 % and sections of people still don’t have the access to basic amenities like food, clothing, shelter and basic hygiene.

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