One billion people still defecate in public, India has the most at 600 million

May 09 2014, 01:46 IST
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Attempts to improve sanitation among the poorest have long focused on building latrines, but the United Nations says that money literally went down the toilet. Reuters Attempts to improve sanitation among the poorest have long focused on building latrines, but the United Nations says that money literally went down the toilet. Reuters
Summary'Excreta', 'faeces', 'poo', I could even say 'shit', is root cause of diseases: Bruce Gordon.

for sanitation for the poorest," he said.

"But this was disbursed from the central level to the provinces and then all the provinces had their own mechanisms of implementing. And as their own data showed, those billions of dollars did not reach the poorest," added Luyendijk.

India's government has now woken up to the need to change attitudes, he said, with a "Take the poo to the loo" campaign that aims to make open defecation unacceptable, helped by a catchy Youtube video. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_peUxE_BKcU

"What is shocking in India is this picture of someone practising open defecation and in the other hand having a mobile phone," said Maria Neira, director of Public Health at the WHO.

Making the practice unacceptable has worked in more than 80 countries, the U.N. says. The goal is to eliminate the practice entirely by 2025. Poverty is no excuse, the study said, noting the role of cultural differences.

In the Democratic Republic of Congo, 14 percent of the population are open defecators. But where the head of the household is an Animist, the figure is twice as high, at 30 percent. Among households headed by Jehovah's Witnesses, it is only 9 percent.

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