Over the course of the last four years, the Indian government has made it their mission to provide sanitation coverage for the entire nation – and their success has reportedly saved thousands of lives.
According to a report from the World Health Organization (WHO), India’s “Swachh Bharat Abhiyan” cleanliness campaign has increased the nation’s sanitation coverage from 40% to 90% – and the nation is set to achieve total coverage by October 2019.
With improved public access to toilets and hygienic facilities, WHO says that the initiative’s completion will have prevented 300,000 children dying from diarrhea and protein-energy malnutrition.
The campaign is one of the most nation’s most significant government-led projects to improve public health and cleanliness. Prior to when Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched the initiative back in October 2014 as a means of honoring Gandhi’s birthday, unsafe sanitation resulted in roughly 200 million cases of dangerous gastrointestinal problems every year.
With the number of these cases steadily declining since the campaign’s launch, the government is celebrating their imminent victory over the entirety of the public health crisis.
“In a recent report, the WHO has said that because of the cleanliness campaign, [300,000] children were saved,” the Prime Minister said in a translated statement. “The credit for saving these lives goes to every Indian who was a part of this campaign. Saving the lives of poor children is surely a great humanitarian act and the world bodies are recognizing it.
With the campaign’s completion date in site, Modi added that “a clean India would be the best tribute India could pay to Mahatma Gandhi on his 150th birthday in 2019.”
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