85 percent toilet-less homes in rural Bihar want one

New Delhi, April 26 (IANS) Around 85 percent of households with no access to a proper toilet in rural Bihar want one, a study by a health organisation said Friday.

The study also showed that unavailability of an affordable toilet and little access to financing are the primary deterrent for them to adopt a proper sanitation facility,

It said that out of those who want toilets, 49 percent sought it for safety reasons (for women and children), 45 percent for convenience (for elderly or during monsoons) and while 24 percent for privacy.

Surprisingly, only one percent of them indicated health as a motivator for having a toilet.

In rural Bihar, about 67 percent of the population does not have access to sanitation facilities and the state has the country’s poorest sanitation indicators.

The finding is a part of ‘Support Sustainable Sanitation Improvements (3SI)’ programme that is to be implemented in Bihar’s eight districts by global health organisation Population Service International (PSI) and ‘Monitor Delloitte’ and ‘Water for People’.

The project is being supported by the ‘Ananya’ programme, funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF).

“The problem is large and the programmes will work collaboratively with Bihar government, financial institutions and entrepreneurs to catalyze the change. It aims to deliver nearly 500,000 toilets to consumer who require toilets,” said Shankar Narayanan, Director PSI said.

He said the project intends to co-create institutions, processes and platforms for a sustainable supply chain for delivery of sanitation services in the state.

“Of all the people in the world who defecate in open, most live in India. To address this global issue, progress is needed to be made in India, and for that to happen this issue needs to be addressed in states like Bihar,” said Jan Willem Rosenboom of the BMGF.

He said the programme will work in close partnership with the Bihar government and under overall framework of National Rural Health Mission (NRHM) and linked programmes.

Stating that Bihar has 15 percent of India’s underweight children, 13 percent of under-immunized children and about 12 percent of country’s maternal deaths, Rosenboom said: “That is why we engaged and it provides a unique opportunity for change.”

“Our experiences with market-based solutions indicate that such solutions have the potential to scale robustly. In Bihar, we have found all the required ingredients for these solution to succeed,” said Rishi Agarwal, director, Monitor Delloitte.

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