2.1 / Mar 2013

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Insight

INVITED COLUMN ON TOPICS OF PUBLIC HEALTH IMPORTANCE

A decade of field epidemiology training in India

Manoj Murhekar and FETP-India Team

Edutweets

COLUMN ON TOPICS OF ACADEMIC INTEREST

BASICS OF SPATIAL STATISTICS - Dr. Vasna Joshua, NIE

Technofile

APPLICATIONS OF TECHNOLOGY IN PUBLIC HEALTH

Nanoparticle based drug delivery system for tuberculosis chemotherapy
- Dr. Sriram Selvaraju, MBBS,MPH

Healthlines

HEALTH NEWS ITEMS FROM LEADING NEWSPAPERS
- Dr. Chitra Grace

Scholastic

SCIENTIFIC REPORTS & CAREER EXPERIENCES BY SCHOLARS

My first national public health conference
- Dr.Latika Nath, MPH Scholar cohort-4

Shastrarth

HEALTH MESSAGES FROM THE SCRIPTURES

Food and health – wisdom from Thirukkural

BrowNIE

ASSORTED ARTICLES BY NIE STAFF/SCHOLARS

SANITATION WITH A CIVIC SENSE -- Dr.M.Karthikeyan, MPH Scholar, 4th Cohort, NIE
SWAMI VIVEKANANDA -- A. Murugarasan, PS to Director, NIE

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BrowNIE

SANITATION WITH A CIVIC SENSE

--- Dr.M.Karthikeyan, MPH Scholar, 4th Cohort, NIE

New to Chennai, I got a place for myself in Triplicane. I was eager to step out for an early morning walk on the beach. It was something that I always planned to do when I would come to Chennai. At around 5 AM as I took a stroll along the beach, I was in for a rude surprise. Many children and some adults from adjacent areas were seen defecating along the shore. The public toilets in the area were locked. I hurried back to my home and prepared to go to work. I took the 21G bus to to Tambaram. It was breezy morning and the sun started to show up. As I settled to enjoy the poetic journey, the images from the morning walk came back over and over again. Through the window I witnessed another event. One speeding motorist had parked his bike along the Chrompet bridge on the busy road, to answer nature's call!!

I am sure many like me would have wondered, why isn't my city or my country clean? In our country less than fifty percent of our families have toilet facility in their homes but more than fifty per cent of households have mobile phones. The ease at which we tend answer nature’s call at any given location, be it temple walls, school walls or walls adjacent to busy roads tend to show our psychic and lack of civic sense. It is sad that we lack self-discipline. A large chunk of infectious diseases can be curtailed if we concentrate on mending our habits. So then where are we going wrong? And how can this issue be addressed? First we need to create more public toilets. We also need to maintain the ones that are currently there in public areas. The process of getting contract for manning and collecting fee for the public toilets is fraught with politics. Furthermore, once contracted out little is done to maintain the facility. Access and proper maintenance of public toilets are an impending necessity. But the few that are already there are either locked or worse maintained. Therefore, it is perceived by the non-users that the filthy public toilets are health hazards. I also remembered an intriguing difference between India and other developed countries. In India we got to pay to use a public toilet, however there is no fine for doing the act in the open. However, in developed countries this would be heavily fined.

Likewise, another important aspect is to develop the civic sense and responsibility among the general public. Creating awareness among the people should be taken up by the government. Answering nature’s call in the open should be synonymous with shame or guilt. Imparting safe sanitation methods at school would be appropriate, but sadly many of our schools themselves don't have a good toilet facility (Supreme court thankfully has interfered in this issue and has issued orders in this regard). All easily said than done, nothing could be more valuable and effective than in making people more responsible for their own activities. Sanitation with a better civic sense and self-discipline is the need of the hour that can answer many of our health related issues in a far better and economical way.

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