On World Toilet Day, UNICEF says that trends in the past five years allow for cautious optimism that significant progress will be made in decreasing the number of people globally who practice open defecation.
A lack of toilets remains one of the leading causes of illness and death among children. UNICEF estimates that around 2 million children die each year from pneumonia and diarrhoea, illnesses which are largely preventable with improvements in water, sanitation and hygiene.
The World Toilet Day draws attention to the fact that 2.5 billion people - 37% of the world’s population! - do not have access to a clean and safe toilet. Globally, India has the largest number of people – more than 600 million – still defecating in the open. Less than half the population of India use toilets.
Photo Essay - India reports the highest number of diarrhoeal deaths among children under five in the world. The majority of these deaths can be attributed to poor sanitation and hygiene, and unsafe water. The World Toilet Day celebrated in different countries, including India, on 19 November aims to raise global awareness of the struggle 2.6 billion people face every day without access to proper, clean sanitation.
Sanitation initiative changes mind set, reaps results
Where there is a will, there is a way.” This is not an adage but a fact as far as the people of Medak district in Andhra Pradesh is concerned. Here, open defection was widely prevalent till recent. It used to be a serious challenge to prevent the onslaught of life-threatening epidemics, especially during the rainy season.
harda,11, and his school friends are regularly seen chanting and beating drums as they walk through their village in India's Uttar Pradesh province.
Why? They're trying to keep their village free from open defecation by spreading awareness. Around one third of households in this region don't have toilets and open defecation spreads life threatening diseases.