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Showing posts from November, 2013

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