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Importance of public health programmes on hygiene and Menstrual Health

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There are many organizations andpublic- private collaborations working to improve access to toilets, improvingdrainage facilities and creating awareness through education campaigns on theimportance of preventive tools such as hand washing. Hand washing with soap isamong the most effective and inexpensive ways to prevent diarrhoea diseasesand pneumonia. Poor wash causes diarrhoea, which is the second biggest cause ofdeath in children under five years. According to the Public Health Association,only 53 per cent of the population wash hands with soap after defecation, 38per cent wash hands with soap before eating and only 30 per cent wash handswith soap before preparing food. Only 11 per cent of the Indian rural familiesdispose child stools safely. 80 per cent children’s stools are left in the openor thrown into the garbage.

According to the UNICEF, hand washing with soap, particularly aftercontact with excreta, can reduce diarrhoeal diseases by over 40 per cent andrespiratory infections by 30 per cent. Hand washing by birth attendants beforedelivery has been shown to reduce mortality rates by 19 per cent while a 4 percent reduction in risk of death was found if mothers washed their hands priorto handling their newborns.

Schools provide an excellentopportunity for children and parents to learn about healthy hygiene practices.There is an urgent need for adequate, well-maintained water supply and hygienefacilities which include proper toilets and hand washing basins in schools allacross India. Inadequate water supply and sanitation in schools are healthhazards and affect school attendance, retention and educational performance.More needs to be done about giving girls the knowledge and facilities necessaryfor good menstrual hygiene is key to their dignity, privacy, educationalachievement and their health. Adolescent girls are empowered through improvedmenstrual hygiene management.
??There need to be awareness campaigns for mothers and caregivers. Hand washingwith soap at critical times is important for protecting the health of the wholefamily. By being a role model, mothers and caregivers can also help in still intheir children healthy hygiene practices, which will serve them for life.

At Dhara, we really take concern about healthand hygiene and develop various awareness programs, camps, and implement realtime programs to address those issues.