Sanitation Current Affairs
The World Health Organization (WHO) has launched first global guidelines on sanitation and health. These guidelines summarize evidence on effectiveness of range of sanitation interventions. They also articulate role of health sector in maximizing health impact of sanitation interventions.
Key Features of WHO Guidelines
WHO’s Sanitation and Health Guidelines are aimed at securing health and wellbeing for everyone, everywhere by considering sanitation as fundamental foundation of human health and development. These guidelines provide comprehensive framework for health-protecting sanitation, covering policy and governance measures, implementation of sanitation technologies, systems and behavioural interventions, risk-based management, and monitoring approaches. They also identify gaps in evidence-base to guide future research efforts to improve the effectiveness of sanitation interventions. By adopting these new guidelines, countries can significantly reduce diarrhoeal deaths due to unsafe water, sanitation and hygiene. For every US $1 invested in sanitation, it is estimated nearly six-fold return as measured by lower health costs, increased productivity and fewer premature deaths.
According to WHO, 2.3 billion people worldwide lack basic sanitation and almost half of the world population is forced to defecate in the open. They are among 4.5 billion people without access to safely managed sanitation services i.e. do not have toilet connected to sewer or pit or septic tank that treats human waste. Without proper access to sanitation, millions of people across the world over are deprived of dignity, safety and convenience of decent toilet. Poor sanitation is also major factor responsible for transmission of neglected tropical diseases.
World Health Organization (WHO)
WHO is specialized agency of United Nations that acts as coordinating authority on international public health. It was established on 7 April 1948, it succeeded the Health Organization, which was an agency of the League of Nations. It is a member of UN Development Group (UNDP). It is headquartered at Geneva. WHO flag features the Rod of Asclepius as a symbol for healing.
According to National Annual Rural Sanitation Survey (NARSS) 2017-18, over 93% households in villages who have access to toilets are using them and about 77% homes in rural areas have got toilets. The survey was conducted by Independent Verification Agency (IVA) under World Bank support project to Swachh Bharat Mission Gramin (SBM-G).
The survey was conducted between mid-November 2017 and mid-March 2018. It covered 92040 households in 6136 villages across States/UTs of India. It also covered schools, anganwadis and public/community toilets in these villages. It used the PPS (Probability Proportion to Size) sampling methodology and its data was collected using Computer Assisted Personal Interviewing (CAPI) platform.
Key findings of NARSS 2017-18
- 77% of households were found to have access to toilets.
- 4% of people who had access to toilets used them.
- 6% of villages which were previously declared and verified as ODF were confirmed to be ODF. The remaining 4.4% villages also had sanitation coverage of over 95%.
- 70% of villages surveyed found to have minimal litter and minimal stagnant water.
Swachh Bharat Mission (SBM)
SBM was launched in October 2014 to achieve universal sanitation coverage and to put focus on sanitation. The mission aims to achieve Swachh Bharat or make India clean by 2019, as a fitting tribute to 150th Birth Anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi. It world’s largest sanitation program that aimed bring behavioural change of people with respect to toilet access and usage
The SBM consists of two sub-missions Swachh Bharat Mission (Gramin), implemented in rural areas, and Swachh Bharat Mission (Urban), implemented in urban areas. SBM-G seeks to eliminate open defecation in rural areas by improving access to sanitation by ensuring use of toilets, besides their construction. It also seeks to generate awareness to motivate communities to adopt sustainable sanitation practices, and encourage the use of appropriate technologies for sanitation.
Over 6.5 crore toilets were built across rural India under SBM. Over 3.38 lakh villages and 338 districts were declared ODF, along with 9 ODF States/3 Union Territories, namely Sikkim, Himachal Pradesh, Kerala, Haryana, Uttarakhand, Gujarat, Arunachal Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Meghalaya, Chandigarh, Dadra & Nagar Haveli and Daman & Diu. Over, 300 million people have stopped defecating in open since launch of SBM.