Public Health
Public Health is the science of protecting and improving the health of communities through education, promotion of healthy lifestyles, and research for disease and injury prevention. (What is Public Health? Association of Schools of Public Health )

Five Minutes Or Less For Health


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Children defecated outdoors in Varanasi. A long economic boom in India has done little to reduce the vast number of children who are malnourished and stunted, leaving them with mental and physical deficits that will haunt them their entire lives. Now, an emerging body of scientific studies suggest that many of the 162 million children under the age of 5 in the world who are malnourished are suffering less a lack of food than poor sanitation. 

Poor Sanitation in India May Afflict Well-Fed Children With Malnutrition
SHEOHAR DISTRICT, India — He wore thick black eyeliner to ward off the evil eye, but Vivek, a tiny 1-year-old living in a village of mud huts and diminutive people, had nonetheless fallen victim to India’s great scourge of malnutrition.
His parents seemed to be doing all the right things. His mother still breast-fed him. His family had six goats, access to fresh buffalo milk and a hut filled with hundreds of pounds of wheat and potatoes. The economy of the state where he lives has for years grown faster than almost any other. His mother said she fed him as much as he would eat and took him four times to doctors, who diagnosed malnutrition. Just before Vivek was born in this green landscape of small plots and grazing water buffalo near the Nepali border, the family even got electricity.
So why was Vivek malnourished?
It is a question being asked about children across India, where a long economic boom has done little to reduce the vast number of children who are malnourished and stunted, leaving them with mental and physical deficits that will haunt them their entire lives. Now, an emerging body of scientific studies suggest that Vivek and many of the 162 million  other children under the age of 5 in the world who are malnourished are suffering less a lack of food than poor sanitation.

Like almost everyone else in their village, Vivek and his family have no toilet, and the district where they live has the highest concentration of people who defecate outdoors. As a result, children are exposed to a bacterial brew that often sickens them, leaving them unable to attain a healthy body weight no matter how much food they eat.

food they eat.

(From The New York Times)

Children defecated outdoors in Varanasi. A long economic boom in India has done little to reduce the vast number of children who are malnourished and stunted, leaving them with mental and physical deficits that will haunt them their entire lives. Now, an emerging body of scientific studies suggest that many of the 162 million children under the age of 5 in the world who are malnourished are suffering less a lack of food than poor sanitation.

Poor Sanitation in India May Afflict Well-Fed Children With Malnutrition

SHEOHAR DISTRICT, India — He wore thick black eyeliner to ward off the evil eye, but Vivek, a tiny 1-year-old living in a village of mud huts and diminutive people, had nonetheless fallen victim to India’s great scourge of malnutrition.

His parents seemed to be doing all the right things. His mother still breast-fed him. His family had six goats, access to fresh buffalo milk and a hut filled with hundreds of pounds of wheat and potatoes. The economy of the state where he lives has for years grown faster than almost any other. His mother said she fed him as much as he would eat and took him four times to doctors, who diagnosed malnutrition. Just before Vivek was born in this green landscape of small plots and grazing water buffalo near the Nepali border, the family even got electricity.

So why was Vivek malnourished?

It is a question being asked about children across India, where a long economic boom has done little to reduce the vast number of children who are malnourished and stunted, leaving them with mental and physical deficits that will haunt them their entire lives. Now, an emerging body of scientific studies suggest that Vivek and many of the 162 million other children under the age of 5 in the world who are malnourished are suffering less a lack of food than poor sanitation.

Like almost everyone else in their village, Vivek and his family have no toilet, and the district where they live has the highest concentration of people who defecate outdoors. As a result, children are exposed to a bacterial brew that often sickens them, leaving them unable to attain a healthy body weight no matter how much food they eat.

food they eat.

Embedded image permalink

(From The New York Times)

Why do millions of Indians defecate in the open?
(By Shannti Dinnoo)
t’s early morning and local commuters are queuing up for tickets at the Kirti Nagar railway station in the Indian capital, Delhi.
Along the tracks, another crowd is gathering - each person on his own, separated by a modest distance. They are among the 48% of Indians who do not have access to proper sanitation.

Coming from a slum close-by, they squat among the few trees and bushes along the railway tracks and defecate in the open.

To many, this is a daily morning ritual despite the hazards of contracting diseases such as diarrhoea and hepatitis.

It can be even more hazardous for women since each time a woman uses the outdoors to relieve herself, she faces a danger of sexual assault.

Recently two teenage girls from the state of Uttar Pradesh were gang-raped and found hanging from a tree after they left their village home to go to the toilet. Their house, like hundreds of millions of others in the country, did not have any facilities.
 'No privacy' 
A new World Health Organisation (WHO) report says more than half a billion people in India still “continue to defecate in gutters, behind bushes or in open water bodies, with no dignity or privacy”.

Access to sanitation is a challenge that India’s politicians want to tackle - both the Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) promised to put an end to open defecation in their 2014 general election manifestos.

During his campaign, Narendra Modi, BJP’s newly-elected prime minister, promised: “Toilets first, temples later”.

And former rural development minister Jairam Ramesh of the Congress party had stressed that “practicing good hygiene is as important as performing good puja” (act of worship in Hinduism).

Political parties have pledged to end open defecation 

India’s government offers cash incentives to subsidise construction of toilets. It has also initiated hygiene and sanitation awareness campaigns, such as the “No Toilet, No Bride” slogan launched in the state of Haryana in 2005, urging brides to reject a groom if he did not have a lavatory at home.

The Gates Foundation too has offered grants to create latrines that are not connected to water, sewer or electricity and to improve the treatment of human waste.
 'Lack of focus' 
The exhibits at a recent “toilet fair” organised by the Foundation in Delhi included a lavatory with a photovoltaic roof-top that powers a reactor breaking down excrements into fertiliser, and another one which came equipped with an automatic sterilisation system and a generator turning the moisture into water.

Apart from poverty and lack of lavatories, one of the reasons often cited to explain open defecation in India is the ingrained cultural norm making the practice socially accepted in some parts of the society.

"Just building toilets is not going to solve the problem, because open defecation is a practice acquired from the time you learn how to walk. When you grow up in an environment where everyone does it, even if later in life you have access to proper sanitation, you will revert back to it," says Sue Coates, chief of Wash (water, sanitation and hygiene) at Unicef.

India will be free of open defecation only when “every Indian household, every village, every part of Indian society will accept the need to use toilets and commit to do so”, she says.

Professor at the Centre for Environmental Planning and Technology Meera Mehta says the strategies implemented so far may not have the expected impact because of a “lack of focus”.

"With the right policies and political attention, India can be free from open defecation within 10 years.

(From BBC News)

Why do millions of Indians defecate in the open?

(By Shannti Dinnoo)

t’s early morning and local commuters are queuing up for tickets at the Kirti Nagar railway station in the Indian capital, Delhi.

Along the tracks, another crowd is gathering - each person on his own, separated by a modest distance. They are among the 48% of Indians who do not have access to proper sanitation.

Coming from a slum close-by, they squat among the few trees and bushes along the railway tracks and defecate in the open.

To many, this is a daily morning ritual despite the hazards of contracting diseases such as diarrhoea and hepatitis.

It can be even more hazardous for women since each time a woman uses the outdoors to relieve herself, she faces a danger of sexual assault.

Recently two teenage girls from the state of Uttar Pradesh were gang-raped and found hanging from a tree after they left their village home to go to the toilet. Their house, like hundreds of millions of others in the country, did not have any facilities.

'No privacy'

A new World Health Organisation (WHO) report says more than half a billion people in India still “continue to defecate in gutters, behind bushes or in open water bodies, with no dignity or privacy”.

Access to sanitation is a challenge that India’s politicians want to tackle - both the Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) promised to put an end to open defecation in their 2014 general election manifestos.

During his campaign, Narendra Modi, BJP’s newly-elected prime minister, promised: “Toilets first, temples later”.

And former rural development minister Jairam Ramesh of the Congress party had stressed that “practicing good hygiene is as important as performing good puja” (act of worship in Hinduism).

Political parties have pledged to end open defecation

India’s government offers cash incentives to subsidise construction of toilets. It has also initiated hygiene and sanitation awareness campaigns, such as the “No Toilet, No Bride” slogan launched in the state of Haryana in 2005, urging brides to reject a groom if he did not have a lavatory at home.

The Gates Foundation too has offered grants to create latrines that are not connected to water, sewer or electricity and to improve the treatment of human waste.

'Lack of focus'

The exhibits at a recent “toilet fair” organised by the Foundation in Delhi included a lavatory with a photovoltaic roof-top that powers a reactor breaking down excrements into fertiliser, and another one which came equipped with an automatic sterilisation system and a generator turning the moisture into water.

Apart from poverty and lack of lavatories, one of the reasons often cited to explain open defecation in India is the ingrained cultural norm making the practice socially accepted in some parts of the society.

"Just building toilets is not going to solve the problem, because open defecation is a practice acquired from the time you learn how to walk. When you grow up in an environment where everyone does it, even if later in life you have access to proper sanitation, you will revert back to it," says Sue Coates, chief of Wash (water, sanitation and hygiene) at Unicef.

India will be free of open defecation only when “every Indian household, every village, every part of Indian society will accept the need to use toilets and commit to do so”, she says.

Professor at the Centre for Environmental Planning and Technology Meera Mehta says the strategies implemented so far may not have the expected impact because of a “lack of focus”.

"With the right policies and political attention, India can be free from open defecation within 10 years.

(From BBC News)


Two girls died looking for a toilet. This should make us angry, not embarrassed
Attacks on girls and women as they look for somewhere private to defecate are frighteningly common. Improving basic sanitation, as a global goal, would do a lot to make them safer"Go to the mango trees, the body of your daughter is there"Help us crowdsource rape laws around the world

Two teenage girls have been gang-raped and killed after doing what half a billion women and girls are forced to do every day – go outdoors to try to find somewhere discreet to go to the toilet.
A toilet, bathroom, powder room – whatever you want to call it – at home, at school, at work, in the shopping mall, is something many of us take for granted and cannot talk about without feeling embarrassed. But we must: because the lack of toilets is costing women their lives.
Today, 2.5 billion people live without access to a toilet, forcing women to walk to dark and dangerous places to find the privacy they need – those same dark and dangerous places where men wait to attack them.
So we must stop blushing when we talk about open defecation because it is not something to be embarrassed about: it is something to be angry about.
(More…)
(From The Guardian)

Two girls died looking for a toilet. This should make us angry, not embarrassed

Attacks on girls and women as they look for somewhere private to defecate are frighteningly common. Improving basic sanitation, as a global goal, would do a lot to make them safer

"Go to the mango trees, the body of your daughter is there"

Help us crowdsource rape laws around the world

Two teenage girls have been gang-raped and killed after doing what half a billion women and girls are forced to do every day – go outdoors to try to find somewhere discreet to go to the toilet.

A toilet, bathroom, powder room – whatever you want to call it – at home, at school, at work, in the shopping mall, is something many of us take for granted and cannot talk about without feeling embarrassed. But we must: because the lack of toilets is costing women their lives.

Today, 2.5 billion people live without access to a toilet, forcing women to walk to dark and dangerous places to find the privacy they need – those same dark and dangerous places where men wait to attack them.

So we must stop blushing when we talk about open defecation because it is not something to be embarrassed about: it is something to be angry about.

(More…)

(From The Guardian)

The Toilet Malls of Nairobi
At Iko-Toilet centers, customers can do their business, have a drink, and maybe even get a haircut, all in one place.

By Betsy Teutsch (The Atlantic)
My husband and I have five bathrooms in our house, 2.5 per occupant.  Inhabitants of the world’s sprawling shantytowns and slums typically share latrines with several hundred people—and often have to pay for the privilege. In many places, the absence of affordable, safe sanitation results in residents of informal settlements constantly suffering from waterborne illnesses; these diseases frequently kill young children.
David Kuria, a former Kenyan career NGO professional, saw opportunity in this sanitation crisis. He spent a few years developing and launching Iko-Toilet centers which offer clean, safe, attractive, reasonably-priced eco-san (short for ecological sanitation) toilets and anchor a host of neighborhood services.
Industrialized world plumbing flushes waste away, though arguably there is no “away.” A great deal of clean water, chemicals, and fossil-fuel energy are consumed to accomplish this method, developed in the 19th century. Eco-san approaches waste as an asset, seeking to kill its inherent pathogens while reclaiming its nutrients and energy.

The underground technology featured in each Iko-Toilet complex is a biodigester, a sealed chamber where waste decomposes anaerobically, without oxygen. The process produces methane gas—which can be sold as fuel or used for heating water for co-located hot showers—and organic fertilizer. 
More…
(From The Atlantic)

The Toilet Malls of Nairobi

At Iko-Toilet centers, customers can do their business, have a drink, and maybe even get a haircut, all in one place.

By Betsy Teutsch (The Atlantic)

My husband and I have five bathrooms in our house, 2.5 per occupant.  Inhabitants of the world’s sprawling shantytowns and slums typically share latrines with several hundred people—and often have to pay for the privilege. In many places, the absence of affordable, safe sanitation results in residents of informal settlements constantly suffering from waterborne illnesses; these diseases frequently kill young children.

David Kuria, a former Kenyan career NGO professional, saw opportunity in this sanitation crisis. He spent a few years developing and launching Iko-Toilet centers which offer clean, safe, attractive, reasonably-priced eco-san (short for ecological sanitation) toilets and anchor a host of neighborhood services.

Industrialized world plumbing flushes waste away, though arguably there is no “away.” A great deal of clean water, chemicals, and fossil-fuel energy are consumed to accomplish this method, developed in the 19th century. Eco-san approaches waste as an asset, seeking to kill its inherent pathogens while reclaiming its nutrients and energy.

The underground technology featured in each Iko-Toilet complex is a biodigester, a sealed chamber where waste decomposes anaerobically, without oxygen. The process produces methane gas—which can be sold as fuel or used for heating water for co-located hot showers—and organic fertilizer.

More…

(From The Atlantic)

One billion people still defecate in public despite health risks-UN | Reuters
By Tom Miles, reuters.com
(Reuters) - (Note: Strong lan­guage in the sec­ond para­graph)One bil­lion peo­ple world­wide still prac­tice “open defe­ca­tion” and they need to be told that this leads to the spread of fatal dis­eases, U.N. experts said on Thurs­day at the…

One billion people still defecate in public despite health risks-UN | Reuters
By Tom Miles, reuters.com

(Reuters) - (Note: Strong lan­guage in the sec­ond para­graph)

One bil­lion peo­ple world­wide still prac­tice “open defe­ca­tion” and they need to be told that this leads to the spread of fatal dis­eases, U.N. experts said on Thurs­day at the…

gensgaia:

It’s time to say thank you to your loo 



The quest for safe, clean #Toilets4All
Play the game, see the stats & support World Toilet Day.

2.5 billion people don’t have access to a safe, clean toilet.
(From UNICEF)

The quest for safe, clean #Toilets4All

Play the game & support World Toilet Day.

2.5 billion people don’t have access to a safe, clean toilet.

(From UNICEF)

What is toilet day, and what is our mission?
World Toilet Day is a UN recognized event, observed annually on 19 November. This international day of action aims to break the taboo around toilets and draw attention to the global sanitation challenge.
Can you imagine not having a toilet? Can you imagine not having privacy when you need to relieve yourself? Although unthinkable for those living in wealthy parts of the world, this is a harsh reality for many – in fact, one in three people on this globe does not have access to a toilet! Have you ever thought about the true meaning of dignity?
World Toilet Day was created to pose exactly these kind of questions and to raise global awareness of the daily struggle for proper sanitation that a staggering 2.5 billion people face. World Toilet Day brings together different groups such as media, the private sector, development organisations and civil society in a global movement to advocate for safe toilets. Since its inception in 2001, World Toilet Day has become an important platform to demand action from governments and to reach out to wider audiences by showing that toilets can be fun and sexy as well as vital to life.
World Toilet Day is not just about toilet humor, or an attempt to make toilets sexy. World Toilet Day has a serious purpose: it aims to stimulate dialogue about sanitation and break the taboo that still surrounds this issue. In addition, it supports advocacy that highlights the profound impact of the sanitation crisis in a rigorous manner, and seeks to bring to the forefront the health and emotional consequences, as well as the economic impact of inadequate sanitation.
World Toilet Days’ vision is to grow as a collective campaign uniting on 19 November everybody who is passionate about toilets to ensure that access to proper sanitation, which has been declared a human right, becomes a reality for all.

(From WorldToiletDay.org)

What is toilet day, and what is our mission?

World Toilet Day is a UN recognized event, observed annually on 19 November. This international day of action aims to break the taboo around toilets and draw attention to the global sanitation challenge.

Can you imagine not having a toilet? Can you imagine not having privacy when you need to relieve yourself? Although unthinkable for those living in wealthy parts of the world, this is a harsh reality for many – in fact, one in three people on this globe does not have access to a toilet! Have you ever thought about the true meaning of dignity?

World Toilet Day was created to pose exactly these kind of questions and to raise global awareness of the daily struggle for proper sanitation that a staggering 2.5 billion people face. World Toilet Day brings together different groups such as media, the private sector, development organisations and civil society in a global movement to advocate for safe toilets. Since its inception in 2001, World Toilet Day has become an important platform to demand action from governments and to reach out to wider audiences by showing that toilets can be fun and sexy as well as vital to life.

World Toilet Day is not just about toilet humor, or an attempt to make toilets sexy. World Toilet Day has a serious purpose: it aims to stimulate dialogue about sanitation and break the taboo that still surrounds this issue. In addition, it supports advocacy that highlights the profound impact of the sanitation crisis in a rigorous manner, and seeks to bring to the forefront the health and emotional consequences, as well as the economic impact of inadequate sanitation.

World Toilet Days’ vision is to grow as a collective campaign uniting on 19 November everybody who is passionate about toilets to ensure that access to proper sanitation, which has been declared a human right, becomes a reality for all.

(From WorldToiletDay.org)

good:


Answer This: Nearly 40% in the World Are Without Access to Sanitation or Toilets. What Do We Do?- Jessica Rivera wrote in in Global Citizenship, Technology, and Toilets

It’s been three weeks since we launched the Give a Shit campaign here at GOOD, to help spread awareness around sanitation issues. We developed a mobile tool to allow people to take action on their mobile phones in helping to provide better health and sanitation to people all over the world. You can check it out here. 
I joined GOOD just four weeks ago to help elevate issues within global health and development, particularly issues related to water, health, and sanitation. I’d say I’m pretty well versed in this field—I devoted the last 10 years of my education and career to it. But I’ve got to admit, I need some help answering this question. 

Continue reading on good.is
Illustration by Tyler Hoehne

good:

Answer This: Nearly 40% in the World Are Without Access to Sanitation or Toilets. What Do We Do?
Jessica Rivera wrote in in Global Citizenship, Technology, and Toilets

It’s been three weeks since we launched the Give a Shit campaign here at GOOD, to help spread awareness around sanitation issues. We developed a mobile tool to allow people to take action on their mobile phones in helping to provide better health and sanitation to people all over the world. You can check it out here

I joined GOOD just four weeks ago to help elevate issues within global health and development, particularly issues related to water, health, and sanitation. I’d say I’m pretty well versed in this field—I devoted the last 10 years of my education and career to it. But I’ve got to admit, I need some help answering this question. 

Continue reading on good.is

Illustration by Tyler Hoehne

npr:

The ‘sink-urinal’ saves water, encourages men to wash hands
A Latvian designer named Kaspars Jursons is trying to help solve European water shortages by redesigning the men’s restroom. His new urinal design includes a tap and sink right over it.
"It’s not just a fancy piece of art," he says. “The idea is about function and consumption. You are washing your hands in the sink on top of the urinal, and the same water that’s running is also used to flush. You don’t have to use water twice, like when you use the urinal and wash your hands in separate sink."
Read more at NPR’s All Tech Considered blog.
(Photo courtesy of Kaspar Jursons)

npr:

The ‘sink-urinal’ saves water, encourages men to wash hands

A Latvian designer named Kaspars Jursons is trying to help solve European water shortages by redesigning the men’s restroom. His new urinal design includes a tap and sink right over it.

"It’s not just a fancy piece of art," he says. “The idea is about function and consumption. You are washing your hands in the sink on top of the urinal, and the same water that’s running is also used to flush. You don’t have to use water twice, like when you use the urinal and wash your hands in separate sink."

Read more at NPR’s All Tech Considered blog.

(Photo courtesy of Kaspar Jursons)