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Having proper healthcare facilities is a fundamental right of every human being, and it is an integral part of human development. Providing primary health facilities is essential to improve the health conditions of individuals in India.

Good health will not only improve living conditions, but it will also help to bridge the gap between the rural and the upper class. The health of the individual depends mainly on the fulfillment of the basic needs of the body.

Clean water and a clean habitat are the two basic requirements of an individual to live life in a healthy manner. If clothes are washed, or the body is washed with dirty water, it will lead to the rise of diseases.

Rural sanitation

Rural Sanitation in India is a subject of utmost concern and among the top agendas of GOI (Government of India), which is the basis for the development of the nation. Various aspects of development are interlinked with sanitation which includes-

● In the scenario of inadequate sanitization, the health conditions degrade miserably, which adversely affects the economy of the country.

● Without proper sanitization, the tourism industry will fail miserably, contributing a significant fraction of the nation’s GDP.

A budget of more than one lakh crore rupees for rural development and around fifty thousand crore rupees for the growth in the health sector is allocated every year for rural sanitation. These enormous figures indicate that India’s government analyzes this area as a critical parameter for the development of the nation.

Rural Health and Hygiene

Rural health depends on various factors, and hygiene is one of them. To be honest, living conditions and the standards are not fit for healthy living in many rural areas of India.

Hygiene can be divided into two parts-

  1. Personal Hygiene

The level of personal hygiene is abysmal in rural Indian and hence, is the root cause of various health problems. People generally bath and wash clothes in rivers and pollute their primary source of water. They do not wear clean clothes, nor do they pay any attention to washing their hands, or taking care of  theirnails, feet, teeth, and hair. Coughing, and sneezing directly onpeople’s faces and nose is a common practice there. All these habits of people in a rural area become the root cause of many health hazards.

They do not have proper toilets either. Open field defecation contaminates the soils; therefore, it becomes the cause of the spread of many diseases causing pathogens and makes people ill.

  • Environmental Hygiene

Environmental hygiene includes domestic and community-driven efforts. They lack knowledge about the benefits of living in the fresh air, good light, proper ventilation, hygienic cooking and storage of food, and sanitary disposal of waste material. They do not understand the significance of avoiding rats and insects to remain healthy. Living together with cattle in unhygienic conditions also causes a variety of health problems. Sludge and sewer are not disposed of properly. Stagnant water present here, and there becomes the ideal breeding place of mosquitoes and flies, which causes a lot of diseases.

Personal hygiene and good habits are integral aspects of community hygiene. Community health is interlinked with the health and practices of people. But in rural areas, most of the people do not take proper care of their personal and house hygiene properly. Rural housing is not so satisfactory.

There is no separate living space in the rural housing. They mostly have Kachcha houses and hardly have separate bathrooms, restrooms, and kitchens. There is no proper drainage system. Also, there are open drains, which are blocked with mud and filth. Open defecation generally by children every morning in community drains renders the rural environment with a foul smell. Most of the people in rural areas are negligent towards the importance of health and hygiene.

Challenges Related to Sanitation and Hygiene in Rural India

There are a lot of challenges ahead of a rural India in terms of sanitization and hygiene. Some of them are-

● Dysfunctionality of sector

● Low Priority and Visibility among people

● Fragmented Institutional Responsibilities

● Inadequate Financing

● In-appropriate Technical standards and norms

● Lack of consensus of sanitation approach by people

The committee that worked for Rural Health and Hygiene

Some of the early committees which were formed regarding this issue are-

● Bhore Committee (1946)

● Mudaliar committee (1961)

● Chadah Committee (1963),

● Mukherjee committee (1965)

● Jungalwala committee (1967)

● Jain committee (1968)

● Kartar Singh Committee (1973)

● Shrivastava committee (1975)

Importance of Health, Hygiene, and Sanitation

A healthy and hygienic lifestyle is essential for the development of any nation. Neglecting these basic needs can have a catastrophic impact on the development of the country. Providing better healthcare facilities and hygienic environment is a must for every country as-

Vital for health

Providing a hygienic environment and better sanitation is necessary for better health. According to a study, poor hygiene and lack of sanitation cause 80% of deaths due to diarrhea every year.

Leads to social development

Providing primary health care facilities and a hygienic environment is a must for social development. If these two are not offered, it will result in various diseases, which may lead to death and will prove a significant hindrance in the path of development.

Helps the environment

According to a study, more than 200 million tons of human waste goes uncollected and untreated around the globe, which fouls the environment and also becomes the reason for various health ailments in youngsters. Providing better sanitation could be a solution for it, and it can save for nature and future generations.

Ways to Improve Rural Hygiene

● Personal hygiene depends on the adequate availability of water for drinking and sanitation. Providing sufficient water could be helpful in improving rural hygiene.

● Awareness programs should be organized to provide information about the importance of hygiene.

● More schemes like Swachh Bharat Abhiyan and Nirmal Bharat Abhiyan should be introduced for a better and cleaner tomorrow.

The Final Verdict:

India still has a long way to go to achieve an international standard of health and sanitation. But with the implementation of new government schemes and initiatives, for example, Swachh Bharat Abhiyan and Nirmal Bharat Abhiyan have improved the conditions and have given hope for a cleaner and better tomorrow.

Mousumi Sachdeva
Author: Mousumi Sachdeva

The Author of The Pride of Being Different, Love Remains Undefined and Making Impossible Possible, and the Poet of The Blend of the Real and Imagination(Poetry Book), Mousumi Kalita Sachdeva serves as Skill Development Trainer, author, an international poet, a columnist, motivational speaker and the Editor at Damick ,a Self-Publishing House and the Traditional Publishing Head Editor of Turquoise Publication.