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Showing posts from 2013


“HEALTHY CHILDREN MAKES HEALTHY NATION” “Community Health Camp launched in Ghaziabad” Gurgaon, 4th December 2013 On Saturday 30th November, the Gurgaon based NGO "HEEALS" conducted a free health check-up program in the District Combined Hospital , Ghaziabad. The event was organised to provide access to free health care for school children, orphans and street children, who otherwise do not have the means to acces health care. Following this pilot event, HEEALS intends to extend the health-check ups further afield, to other areas of Uttar Pradesh, and Delhi NCR. In a joint collaboration with District Combined Hospital , Sanjay Nagar, twenty students from Kaushambi school, Ghaziabad, were brought to the hospital for access to free health check-ups. A team of doctors in the hospital volunteered their time in conducting check-ups for the children. These were conducted by Dr Sandeep Pawar (Chief Medical Officer), Dr Rajesh Kumar (Dental  Surgeon), Dr Mahesh K

India "missing" 3.75 crore toilets: sanitation activists

  Sanitation  activists today observed 'World Toilet Day' and alleged that 3.75 crore lavatories in India as claimed by  Ministry for Rural Development  did not exist and were "missing". Activists of  Right to Sanitation  (RTS) Campaign's India chapter demanded an inquiry into the "huge gap" in the number of toilets existing on the field and the number provided in the data by the Rural Development Ministry and Census 2011. On the occasion, the activists organised a range of programmes across 14 states around the theme of 'missing toilets' and 'crisis of sanitation' in the country. Various groups including Action India, Rashtriya Dalit Mahila Andolan, National Confederation of Dalit Organisations, Safai Karmchari Andolan, etc also demanded for the enactment of the law to provide constitutional status to the Right to Sanitation so that it becomes a legal civil right. They also stressed that special focus should be accorded for the

World Toilet Day: Celebrating a basic human right

By: Sylvie Hughes Gurgaon, India 19th November 2013 The figures provided by World Toilet Day reveal that 2.5 billion people in the world do not have access to clean toilets. India has the largest number of people defecating in the open in the world. A staggering 638 million still practice open defecation, and less than half of India’s population are using  toilets.  Lack of hygiene awareness, lack of access to facilities, and social and behavioral patterns are the main causes of high disease rates, lack of education opportunities and deaths across the country. By viewing statistics of toilet access in schools, one can gain an idea of the condition of the country as a whole regarding access to toilet facilities: Of all of India’s rural primary schools, only 1 in 6 have toilet facilities. Often the children have to walk home just to use the toilet, or walk further away to defecate in the open. The amount of time that children have to spend walking a distance to

Health care access in India

By: Sylvie Hughes   Gurgaon, India 18th November 2013 Despite improvements in healthcare in India, accessibility to quality health care remains a challenge for a large number of the population.                                   The provisional census of 2011 reveals that 68.84% of India’s population live in rural areas. However, according to the National Commission on Macroeconomics & Health (NCMH), 80% of of health infrastructure and resources are situated in urban  areas, where only 31% of the population live. This shows a clear imbalance in access to health care facilities. Half of the rural population of India live below the poverty line. They do not have the means of access to hospitals due to lack of proximity to their homes. Those living in urban slum areas also face problems accessing quality health care. Even at government hospitals, it is necessary to pay fees for general health check-ups, which many families cannot afford to pay. Despite liv

HEEALS Report On Water Sanitation Menstrual Hygiene & Girl Education

In August 2013, HEEALS carried out a monitoring and evaluation  exercise on its Water Sanitation Menstrual Hygiene and Girl Education projects in three schools following the delivery of previous awareness training. Results of the monitoring and evaluation are now available to view in our HEEALS report. One issue to consider is that despite many girls having a good awareness and knowledge of Menstrual Hygiene, they are unable to practice what they know due to lack of facilities available in school.  The bad conditions of toilet facilities were reported by most participants, who stated that there was nowhere to place sanitary pads and no soap or water for hand washing. Similarly, many girls displayed an awareness of the importance of hand washing, yet were unable to put this into practice at school. Schools greatly influence the behavior and mentality of children – they look to school as a source of knowledge. Yet through lack of sanitation facilities, schools are contr

It’s Not About Size… It’s About Sanitation

In 2012, India was home to  six of the 25 largest metropolitan regions  in the world. Delhi and Mumbai actually made it to the top 10. Normally this would be worth publicising, except that it isn’t always about size. Not a single Indian city made it into the top 50 of  Mercer Consulting’s 2012 global ranking of cities  offering the highest quality of life. In fact, Delhi and Mumbai actually made it to Mercer’s list of the 25 dirtiest cities in the world, with the lowest sanitation and health scores. This is the sad reality every urban Indian resident wakes up to each stinking, smoggy morning, and goes back to bed with. Copyright: All rights reserved by Louhan India’s cities have much to offer—a diversity of opportunities, experiences, people, food… They are fascinating places, but the slow rot makes me wonder whether they’re worth staying for.  A recent study  that used 20 years of

Fighting Child Marriage Through Hygiene Awareness

by Sylvie Hughes Gurgaon,India 5th November 2013 Child marriage in India affects a large portion of adolescent girls in the country.  With 47% of girls in India marrying below the legal minimum age of 18,  India has the highest number of child brides than any other nation in the world.  However, despite its huge  number of illegal marriages, in October India refused to sign the first ever UN resolution against the practice of child marriage – an initiative which is being supported by 107 other countries worldwide. Child brides face a multitude of serious mental and physical health problems.  Young married  girls face problems of sexual and domestic abuse, causing high rates of severe depression.  Girls as young as 13 drop out of school once they get married, and as a result they are unable to continue their education or seek help. The section of society who are the most in need of education, health and hygiene awareness are unable to access  it. This leads to  an increase


What is Hand, foot and mouth disease (HFMD) Hand, foot and mouth disease   (HFMD) is a human   syndrome   caused by intestinal viruses of the   picornaviridae   family . The most common strains causing HFMD are   coxsackie A   virus   and   enterovirus 71 EV-71 . HFMD is a contagious illness caused by different viruses . Although older children & adults affected by the disease but children below 5 year age are more likely to get affected . HFMD usually affects infants and children, and is quite common. It is moderately contagious and is spread through direct contact with the mucus, saliva, or feces of an infected person. It typically occurs in small epidemics in nursery schools or kindergartens, usually during the summer and autumn months. The usual incubation period is 3–7 days. It is less common in adults; however, it is still possible to catch it especially if never exposed to the virus previously. HFMD is not to be confused with foot-and-mouth disease   (also calle

"WASH Biasness"

In Today’s world working women plays an important role in the economic growth of a country. National sample survey organization NSSO rounds confirm their increased participation in all sectors of the economy. Number of girls/ women staying out of home for extended hour and regularly travelling long distances, whether for work & education has increased.  In informal sector women workers are out for an average of 16 hours in a day. One of the biggest difficulties women encounter is that of access to a toilet. Even if there is a public toilet, women were afraid to use it because they are dirty stinking, without running water & there is no electricity. Lack of cleaning staff creates nightmarish experience for those who are forced to visit such a facilities. There is an urgent need for women’s toilets besides relieving are themselves they need to use toilet facilities for changing sanitary napkins during menstruation. Lack of toilets puts them at a risk of bladder infections, re

Multi-Level Strategy To Fight Malaria

The United Nations and a coalition of partners today launched a comprehensive approach to fighting malaria, a disease which – despite tremendous advances – still kills an estimated 660,000 people each year and poses a major challenge to development. With the participation of world leaders gathered in New York for the 68th General Assembly, the Roll Back Malaria Partnership (RBM) and the UN Development Programme ( UNDP ) launched the  Multisectoral Action Framework for Malaria , which calls for greater coordinated action among different development sectors to tackle the disease, which exacts its deadliest toll in sub-Saharan Africa. The Framework identifies actions to address the social and environmental determinants of malaria, and calls for current malaria strategies to be complemented by a broader development approach, according to a UNDP  news release . “Malaria is a disease associated with lack of socio-economic development, poverty, marginalization and exploitation. Eac

World Saved Some 90 Million Children But Likely To Miss Global Target

Photo: ©UNICEF/NYHQ2012-2093/Noah Friedman-Rudovsky 13 September 2013 – Global and national efforts to end preventable deaths of children under-five years of age saved some 90 million lives in the past two decades, but at the current rate, a universal promise to reduce child mortality by two-thirds by 2015 will not be reached, the United Nations Children’s Fund ( UNICEF ) reported today. “Yes, we should celebrate the progress,”  said  Anthony Lake, UNICEF Executive Director. “But how can we celebrate when there is so much more to do before we reach the goal? And we can speed up the progress – we know how, but we need to act with a renewed sense of urgency.” The number of deaths fell to 6.6 million in 2012 from 12.6 million in 1990, according the report released today,  2013 Progress Report on Committing to Child Survival: A Promise Renewed . The reductions are due to more effective and affordable treatments, improvements in mothers’ nutrition and education, innovations i

“Dealing effectively with the water and sanitation crisis is fundamental to fighting disease and poverty.”

Now is the time for accelerated, energized and concerted action on water and sanitation, Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson today urged, calling for renewed cooperation on water management and access to adequate sanitation for the more than 2.5 billion people around the world without it. In a keynote address to the World Water Week plenary session in Stockholm, Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson  said :“Dealing effectively with the water and sanitation crisis is fundamental to fighting disease and poverty.” “In a world of population growth and pressures on water resources within and among nations, sound and fair water management is a huge task and a clear imperative for all of us,” Mr. Eliasson added. He urged the hundreds of delegates gathered for the session entitled “Building partnerships for Sanitation and Water for All” to work towards sustainable solutions and measures among actors, including national governments, local administrations, development partners, i

To Boost Clean Development Efforts

The United Nations climate change secretariat has signed an agreement with the Latin American Development Bank to increase participation in clean development projects in the region, it was today announced. The agreement, signed by the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change ( UNFCCC ) Secretariat, will establish a Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) regional collaboration centre (RCC) in Bogotá, Colombia. “The CDM has demonstrated what can be achieved when we use markets to incentivize action on climate change and development,” UNFCCC Executive Secretary, Christiana Figueres, said in a  statement . “The RCC in Bogotá will help tap the potential for CDM projects in Latin America and serve as a working example of the kind of inter-agency cooperation necessary to tackle climate change,” she added. The CDM RCCs are part of an effort to bring the benefits of the Kyoto Protocol’s emission-reduction projects in developing countries to earn certified emission reductions – or CERs – w

"Social,Economic&Political Will Is The Key To Ensuring Water And Sanitation For All"

Political leadership and concrete action have led to good progress on creating universal and sustainable access to decent sanitation and drinking water, but additional efforts are needed to fulfil commitments by the 2014 deadline, a United Nations-backed partnership reported today. The 15 developing countries that made specific commitments to tackle open defecation have made notable progress in scaling up community-based approaches to sanitation, according to the report. UN figures show that some 1.1 billion people still defecate in the open, leading the UN General Assembly this year to designate 19 November as World Toilet Day. Nine countries reported significant budget increases for sanitation and water and many leaders have given the water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) sector higher political visibility According to the findings, more effort must also be made to include multiple stakeholders in the progress review process. While two-thirds of developing countries consulte

"India school deaths highlight need to phase out toxic pesticides "

Highly hazardous pesticides should be phased out because it has proven very difficult to ensure proper handling. Photo: FAO/Asim Hafee 30 July 2013 – The tragic incident in India in which nearly two dozen children died after eating a contaminated school meal is a stark reminder that highly hazardous pesticides should be phased out in developing countries, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization ( FAO ) said today. On 17 July, 23 children in the village of Dharmasati Gandawa in the eastern state of Bihar died after eating a free school lunch that was made with cooking oil tainted with the monocrotophos pesticide. This substance is widely used in India in spite of being described as having “high acute toxicity” by FAO and the World Health Organization ( WHO ). In a  news release , FAO stressed that the distribution and use of highly toxic pesticides in many developing countries poses a serious risk to human health and the environment, and measures to put