WASH FOR ALL
"This is a very critical innovation on the sanitation value chain because the whole sustainability of Swachh Bharat Mission depends on the fact that we can empty and reuse those pits of mineralised faeces so that they can last many
The problem of drinking water and sanitation in India still persists to a large extent but it is appreciable that the Centre's approach in solving drinking water & sanitation issues is 'transparent & open'.
While addressing the ASSOCHAM conference on 'Wash for All: Innovative approaches', Mr. Nicolas Osbert, Chief of WASH (Water, Sanitation, Hygiene) Unicef India, said that there is a very strong transparency, openness among many stakeholders in terms of the union government's approach towards solving issues concerning lack of drinking water and sanitation in India. "This is really good because this helps to find innovation and its working very well as the door is open at the Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation for people to propose things and react on strategies and approaches promoted by the government."
"We believe that this is a very strong asset to continue to foster innovation to address the challenges at the scale required in India," said Mr. Osbert.
However, when it comes to innovation in India, there is a need to think at scale. "We need to innovate more, we need to work more on making the toilets as rational and that is lacking as a social good, for now it is a bit coercive."
Referring to the issue of manual scavenging, he said, "Cleaning should be a profession, it should not be brought down to a caste but rather to professionals, so this is another area which requires innovation."
Talking about the need to improve sanitation value chain, he also referred to a recent toilet pit emptying exercise carried out by Union Minister for Drinking Water and Sani ta tion, Mr. Narendra Singh Tomar, and eminent film personality, Mr. Akshay Kumar whereby they led a team ofsenior state and Central government officers to a household in a Madhya Pradesh village which has adopted a twin pit toilet model, and proceeded to empty the filled pit of the toilet to demonstrate that the exercise is perfectly safe and there should be no stigma attached to it. years', said Mr. Osbert.
As part of Unicef's efforts to work on sanitation value chain, he said that there is a lot to do in solid and liquid waste management as tonnes of waste gets produced which can either be recycled or used as fertilizer.
"For urban sanitation, the innovation we try to bring here is based on public-private partnership to mobilise small scale service providers so that they make money out of supporting the government for the service of dealing with waste, in particular faecalsludge
as 70per cent of is produced in urban areas and gets released in the environment which leads to diarrheal disease and stunted growth", said Mr. Osbert.
He also stressed upon the need to scale thing sup in this regard in order to have small scale service providers as innovation relies on right contractual approach whereby payment is made only after it is ensured that sludge is put in the right place and not in any drain, which unfortunately has really been happening.
"So the innovation relies on right contractual approach and the right monitoring process and the incentive is moneyand luckily enough there are funds to pay the service providers, while the problem is technical", further said the Unicef official.
Quoting a 2015 World Health Organisation (WHO) report on diseases, he said that each year in India there are 117,000 five-year old children dying of diarrheal disease. "This is 22per cent of global burden, so any child that dies of diarrhoea in the world, one in five is dying in India."
He also said that as per an estimate about 11 per cent neonatal deaths in India occur due to hospital-acquired diseases, while 14 per cent of maternal deaths in hospitals occur owing to because of poor infection, prevention and control.
"All this is preventable with WASH so what we try to promote in health facilities is software," said Mr. Osbert.
He also referred to a 2008 World Bank study, as per which every year India is losing $53.8 billion because ofpoor sanitation alone.
"The number might have been exaggerated but this is the range because of the diseases, morbidity, health expenditure and workdays lost, so this is huge and more than all the income generated by India in tourism is lost because of poor sanitation and its consequences," said Mr. Osbert.
Unice£' s core business is to support government and civil society in advocacy, planning, technology inputs, capacity building, behaviour change communication.
"We at the Unicef are working with the union government and 15 most populated states in the country and we have some chances to bring to try to promote innovations because we are working on education, health, child protection and WASH", said Mr. Osbert.
Mr. Akash Tiwari, Head, Convergence Business, Eram Scientific Solutions Pvt. Ltd. addressing the audience.
"S~I'·I~· /" 'LSIiARA
(L- R) Mr. Babu Lal Jain, Senior Advisor (MDGs), United Nations Office for Partnership, Mr. Ravi Bhatnagar, Head - Strategic Partnerships & External Affairs, Reckitt Benckiser India, Mr. Rahul Sharma, Senior Member, Managing Committee, ASSOCHAM, Mr. Sanjay Ghatak, Senior General Manager - Partnership, Piramal Sarvajal, Mr. Nicolas Osbert, Chief WASH (Water, Sanitation, Hygiene), UNICEFIndia.