Unicef teams up with West Bengal for total sanitation campaignBy IANS
Thursday, December 2, 2010
KOLKATA - With a view to improve sanitation and hygiene and safe water in West Bengal, the United Nations Children’s Fund (Unicef) has joined hands with the West Bengal government to roll out a total sanitation campaign Dec 1-7 across the state.
With 35 million people defecating in the open and a substantial number of households yet to start disposing child faeces safely, diarrhoea and respiratory infections have emerged as the number one cause for child deaths in West Bengal, says the Unicef.
The programme aims to ensure the state achieves open defecation free status by 2012 and is spread over 18 districts, 341 blocks and 3,528 Gram Panchayats (village councils) covering a population of 60 million.
Children weakened by frequent diarrhoea episodes are more vulnerable to malnutrition and opportunistic infections such as pneumonia. About 44 percent of children under three years in West Bengal are underweight for their age. Even though 91 percent of the population has access to drinking water, only a few of them have a source on their premise, Unicef said in a statement here.
Posters, wall paintings, banners, TV spots, tableaux, local cultural performances and inter personal communication are the tools being used in the campaign inaugurated by state Governor M.K. Narayanan Monday.