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News Outlets Examine Efforts To Improve Sanitation Worldwide

The Washington Post examines how the “No Toilet, No Bride” campaign in India is helping to increase access to home toilets in rural India. According to the newspaper, “About 665 million people in India — about half the population — lack access to latrines.” Yet, since the campaign launched two years ago, “1.4 million toilets have been built here in the northern state of Haryana, some with government funds, according to the state’s health department” – a movement that women’s rights activists hail as “a revolution.”

Bringing toilets to women in India is not only a matter of convenience, the newspaper reports. “[L]ack of sanitation … contributes to the spread of diseases such as diarrhea, typhoid and malaria.” Women without safe access to toilets experience other health problems, such as “prolonged urinary tract infections and kidney and liver problems,” said local doctor Ashok Gera. The article includes information about previous failed attempts to increase access to toilets in India (Wax, 10/12).

In related news, Reuters examines how aid groups and development banks are trying to convince investors to put their money behind increasing access to toilets in developing countries. The U.N.’s Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council (WSSCC) “and banks with development arms, like Germany’s KfW, want to change the way money is spent on” sanitation projects, the news service writes.

“Instead of paying people to do the work, they want to provide the cash to banks in the local countries who then give loans to those looking to create a business providing toilets … The hope is to create a new source to tap for investors and that financing from banks like KfW and the European Investment Bank will feed a $40 billion investment in sanitation.” The U.N. estimates 2.6 billion people in the world are without access to basic sanitation and 1.8 million die from diarrhea annually (Jones, 10/9).

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Filling the need for trusted information on national health issues, the Kaiser Family Foundation is a nonprofit organization based in Menlo Park, California.