Children Health

PM’s emphasis on optics threatens children’s health

One of the issues faced was toilets that were constructed had no running water, rendering them unusable. This was caused by a mismatch of resources. In 2016-17, Swacch Bharat received about Rs 14,000 crore but rural water infrastructure received only Rs 6,000 crore.

The ministry of water resources estimated that a household required a total of 40 litres of water a day, of which 15 to 20 litres was for sanitation. But even a well-supplied rural household received only between 8 and 10 litres of water a day, and that was used up for cooking, drinking and washing with sanitisation being the last priority. And many villages had no access to piped water at all.
Why should there have been a focus on sanitation and not on littering or garbage? It is because absence of sanitation affects the health of children. The National Family Health Survey of 2019-20 revealed some awful numbers. On four key metrics which represent the nutritional status of children, states recorded a significant fall in 2019-20 compared to the levels in 2015-16.

In states like Gujarat, Maharashtra and West Bengal, the share of anaemic and wasted (low weight for height) children was significantly higher than the levels recorded 15 years earlier in 2005-6. This indicated a reversal of progress that had been hard to win. Even in States such as Kerala, which continued to lead in these indicators, the levels recorded in 2019-20 were poorer than the 2015-16 figures.

The survey put out data for 22 states and Union territories and an analysis of 10 major states was conducted. Anaemia among children was higher in all the 10 states in 2019-20 compared to 2015-16. In Gujarat, Himachal, Maharashtra and West Bengal, a higher percentage of children were anaemic in 2019-20 than were in 2005-06.


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