The possibility of access to safe, accessible and clean sanitary facilities reperesent an added value to the dignity of man and, in this particular context, of women.
In India, one of the greatest challenges is to provide women the opportunity to use safe and functional toilets to manage their personal hygiene. Many people in India are forced to defecate outdoors which not only corresponds to a lack of privacy but also to a mismanagement of hygiene because there isn’t clean water available to wash your hands and clean the body after defecation.
Although the Indian state is engaging through the Swachh Bharat mission undertaken on 2nd of October, 2014 to ensure that the entire Indian population has the benefit of being able to use safe toilets,still today, access to clean water and sanitation is a great problem.In India, about 522 million people still defecate in the open, increasing the risk of spreading diseases like diarrhoea and other types of viruses, not being able to wash their hands and walk for the most part barefoot.According to Indian government data mission the percentage of children who do not have access to the toilet corresponds to 50.2% of males 44.6% of females compared to those who instead use accessible baths that account for 26% of males and 24% of females.Although the state is committed to providing more infrastructure, the problem affects more deepen in the socio-cultural and educational aspect. More specifically, this factor affects the dignity of women and respect for gender equality.
Women who live in rural areas and in suburban villages that do not have toilets, often reduce themselves keeping their physiological needs until the night, and look for a land abandoned, miles away from home in the complete darkness to be able to relieve themselves. This, however, exposes them to a high risk not only to contract parasitic diseases but also to the nights dangers, as ill-intentioned that would sexually abuse them or would like to rob them.According to research, 70% of abused women suffered this type of violence while looking for a place to defecate far from their home.
Keeping the physiological needs, brings serious consequences to metabolism, requiring your body an unnatural effort that causes infections both in the urinary tract and in the intestine due to the bacteria not expelled for too long by our body. According to the Indian Medical Association, retaining physiological needs for a long time, and not expelling them when the body requires, itcan also cause the intestine to collapse as well as the lack of assimilation of nutrients. Indeed, some data reported by the Indian government in 2013 show that 33.5% of women in the state of Andhra Pradesh weigh below the threshold established by the World Health Organization (WHO), also declaring that the% 63 of women suffer from anaemia such as % 56.4 of pregnant women, while men reach 20%.The Indian Medical Association also added that resisting to defecate necessity provoke and accumulation of gases in the intestine that damage the inner bacterial flora which becomes weak and don’t protect the intestine from intestinal virus and bacterial infections easily verifiable in case of bad quality of the water. Data show that, 1.7 million cases of diarrhoeal diseases were registered in Andhra Pradesh in 2013, more than half of them in women.
Hygiene Education and the good practices.
The absence of a toilets or a latrine where to defecate, also means not having available clean water to be able to wash hands after defecating. This means that the faeces bacteria are transferred to the hands and contaminate everything that the hands touch, like the food that women cook. Being able to manage one's own hygiene is fundamental in order to avoid many infectious diseases. However, it is necessary to explain the value of this practice, because unfortunately it is not common, especially for those used to defecate in the open. The importance of disease prevention is often not understood because it changes the practices of common use which contrast the willingness to use latrines because they are considered dirty. It is important to act through education and teaching also at school level of which are the unfortunate causes caused by a lack of personal hygiene and defecation outdoors. In this respect, the intervention of many NGOs, such as HEEAL, is vital for the purpose of learning and achieving hygiene practices. In fact, for HEEALS the objectives are schools, where children are the right age to fully understand and not have already rooted improper practices, difficult to change. Through interactive lessons, Heeals promotes and supports personal hygiene education and adequate water use, in order to guarantee children, and adults who learn from children, a healthier life by avoiding many diseases.