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nutrition

Sanitation and stunting in India: Undernutrition's blind spot

Global proportions of ODF, poverty and undernutrition diagram
The puzzle of persistent undernutrition in India is largely explained by open defecation, population density, and lack of sanitation and hygiene. The impact on nutrition of many faecally-transmitted infections, not just the diarrhoeas, has been a blind spot. In hygienic conditions much of the undernutrition in India would disappear. To tackle undernutrition effectively requires the elimination of open defecation and a radical transformation of sanitation and hygiene policies and practices.
Date: 15 July 2013
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The long and short of open defecation

There is statistical data to show that the height of Indian children is correlated to their and their neighbourhood’s access to toilets.

You can learn a lot from measuring children’s height. How tall a child has grown by the time she is a few years old is one of the most important indicators of her well-being. This is not because height is important in itself, but because height reflects a child’s early-life health, absorbed nutrition and experience of disease.

Sanitation and stunting: How much international variation in child height can open defecation explain?

young child, Malawi

A child’s height is one of the most important indicators of her well-being. Height reflects the accumulated total of early-life health and diseases. Because problems that prevent children from growing tall also prevent them from growing into healthy, productive, smart adults, height predicts adult economic outcomes.

Date: 10 January 2013

Sanitation and Hygiene: Undernutrition’s Blind Spot

The effects of undernutrition
The undernutrition of babies, infants and children is horrible and a disgraceful blot on our human record. It is not just the immediate suffering, anguish and death. It is also the lasting impact: when stunted at age 2 the damage is largely irreversible. Stunted children are disadvantaged for life – their cognition and immune systems impaired, and their education and earning prospects reduced. Stunting leads to a 10 per cent decrease in lifetime earning. Stunted children start school 7 months later and attend 0.7 years less.

Reflections on India's enormous sanitation challenges and some opportunities

I was in Delhi recently. It was great meeting people. There was much debate and discussion going on about sanitation and hygiene. These are much higher up the public agenda than before. And the new Minister, Jairam Ramesh, was spoken of highly by everyone. If anyone can make a difference through political leadership, perhaps he can.

A passionate family: Reflections on the WSSCC Global Forum on Sanitation and Hygiene

This was the first ever Global Forum on Sanitation and Hygiene. There have been the regional meetings – Sacosans, Africasans and so on, but never one for the whole developing world. WSSCC (and most notably Archana Patkar, who got a standing ovation at the end) did a great job in imaginative and thorough planning. The facilitation by Archana, Barbara Evans and others was outstanding. WSSCC had brought together some 450 of us. There was fuller representation of Africa than usual, and fewer Indians than one might have expected.

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