National Workshop on Water, Sanitation and Health Concluded

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Chandigarh Aug 7 : A 5-day national workshop on “Water, Sanitation and Health”concluded today at School of Public Health, PGIMER. The workshop focussed to provide practical and field based training to build the capacity of medical professionals so that they can play a major role to achieve the goal of Swachh Bharat Mission. The training programme was coordinated by Dr. Ravindra Khaiwal, Associate Professor of Environment Health, School of Public Health, PGIMER and financially supported by Department of Health Research (DHR), Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, New Delhi.
 
The valedictory session was chaired by Prof. Rajesh Kumar, Head, School of Public Health, PGIMER and he highlighted that this is the first time medical professionals are being trained to support the communities to become open defecation free. He further stated that doctors can communicate more effectively about the diseases, which spread due to poor sanitation as society listen to them carefully and follow the advice of doctors. During the training session, Dr. Puran Singh Yadav, Director, Haryana Institute of Rural Development, Nilokheri, highlighted that total number of constructed toilet is reached 87% in Haryana and the state targeted to achieve the status of open defecation free (ODF) by 2017.
 
Dr. Ravindra Khaiwal, Associate Professor of Environment Health, School of Public Health, PGIMER mentioned that building toilets is not enough and we also need to encourage people to make use of toilets. He stressed that only by encouraging common people to adopt safe hygiene and sanitation; we can reduce the burden of water-borne diseases, which is a major cause of mortality and morbidity for the children below 5 years. He mentioned that once people start using toilet, we also need to plan for empting septic tank including safe transport and disposal to maintain the complete chain of sanitation.
 
Experts from various renowned institutes like Panjab University, Chandigarh; National Institute of Technical Teachers Training &Research, Chandigarh; Haryana Institute of Rural Development, Nilikheri; Department of Water Supply and Sanitation, Fatehgarh Sahib (Punjab) contributed to various sessions.
 
The organisers highlighted that 5-day training included 3-days of field visit, where they interacted with the rural communities to make them aware about the practices of Community-Led Total Sanitation, which includes Walk of Shame, Triggering, Formulation of Different Committees, Defecation Mapping, Medical Expenditure Mapping, and Community Action Plan. Under Walk of Shame, villagers are purposefully taken to a location, where fresh human feces are laying in open and meeting is held around it. This brings the feeling of disgust among the community and forces them to think about the bad practice of open defecation. Triggering like this facilitate the rural communities become open defecation free (ODF) and live with proud and dignity. The other topics covered during the workshop were water-borne diseases, strategic communication for behaviour change, bacteriological examination of drinking water and sanitation in urban slum.

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