Wednesday 21 October 2020.Time-
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Sanitation facilities improve health reducing child deaths

Bangladeshi-ChildrenDhaka, 16 August, Abnews : The public health index has marked a significant improvement with reduction in water-borne diseases and child deaths following laudable success in sanitation coverage throughout the country. The fact is globally recognised that there is no alternative to having good sanitation facilities for a nation to march forward towards the path of progress and prosperity.

Sanitation status is directly linked to public health as well as human life and the total sanitation system has emerged as an important development and policy issue at the national, regional and global levels. According to health experts, poor sanitation system causes ill health to parents, especially to mothers, also affecting child health directly through spreading water-borne diseases like diarrhoea, cholera, dysentery, jaundice, etc afflicting people in many ways.

Besides, poor sewerage systems also contribute to the outbreak of these diseases and degradation of the environment making the children worst victims as dirty environment causes worm infection in their bodies, a leading cause of child malnutrition. According to statistics, around 125,000 children died annually till 2006 from these diseases because of poor sanitation facilities. Although the children are worst affected, adults of all ages also suffer from these diseases. These diseases also cause a huge loss to working hours of sufferers apart from the treatment cost.

A large number of people carry Hepatitis-B virus and many others are afflicted anew for lack of good sanitation facilities contributing to the spread of the disease, which finds children as the prime target due to their low disease-resistance power.

Considering all aspects, it is needless to say that a good sanitation system is a must and it has no alternative. The coverage of sanitary latrines was only 12 percent in 1991 and it rose to 36.87 percent after a decade in 2001. The Government of Bangladesh has been working to achieve all set targets of the millennium development goals (MDGs) by 2015 and ensure sanitary latrine for all by 2013 through its hectic efforts jointly with the development partners and other organisations.

In 2006, over 78 percent families were brought under basic sanitary latrine coverage. Each year, the month of October is being observed as the National Sanitation Month to spread the message of the success to others. To achieve the set targets of total sanitation coverage, the Department of Public Health and Engineering (DPHE) completed implementation of a project National Sanitation Project (NSP)in two phases by June this year.

Superintending Engineer of DPHE and Project Director of the just-concluded phase-II of the NSP, Anwar Hossain, told abnews that 81 percent people are currently using healthy latrines in Bangladesh where an intensified campaign is underway to achieve cent percent sanitation coverage. Currently, 96 percent people have basic sanitation facilities and 81 percent attained the required sanitation standard in the country, he said, adding that the nation is on its way to achieve total sanitation coverage for all citizens very soon.

Under the achieved standard sanitation coverage, 56 percent sanitary latrines are being used by single families while 25 percent are shared ones and only four percent people now defecate in open places while the figure was 42 percent in 2003 when the NSP was launched. Following tremendous success achieved so far under the sanitation campaign, the under-5 children mortality rate has significantly reduced to only 53 now among 1,000 children while the figure was 88 in 2003, he added.

According to the World Health Organisation and UNICEF statistics, compared to Bangladesh’s 81 percent sanitation coverage now, India has achieved 43 percent, Pakistan 54 and Nepal 45 percent. Talking to abnews, Rangpur Divisional Health Director DrShahadat Hossain said the family that lacks a sanitary latrine is basically sheltering sick mothers, kids and a bleak future.

Spread of water-borne diseases with related deaths reduced now to the minimum as it is now widely felt that sanitary latrines are a precondition for keeping people healthy and making a nation worthy and talented, he added.



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