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Why we must measure the true cost of sanitation?

Media1 min read

In Rohini Nilekani’s recent LiveMint piece, she argues that before we “rush out to build toilets everywhere” it is important to understand both the costs of poor sanitation, and the complexities in overcoming the challenge.

Ms. Nilekani quotes our work in talking about some of the hidden, and difficult to measure, costs of poor sanitation:

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You can also read the full article here

It’s wonderful that so much attention is being paid to the issue of sanitation in the country. We have a confluence of rising public demand, political will and increased public and private financing. Can we get it right this time? The word sanitation can include many things, but for the purposes of this article, I will limit its usage to human waste and its treatment. So we are talking about where people urinate and defecate, whether there is enough water to carry the waste away and to wash their hands and feet, where does that waste then go, and what impact does it have on public health if the waste is not handled properly. This is simple to understand. What is less easy to explain is why, decades after public funds started moving into the sanitation sector in a fairly organized way, at least one out of two citizens does not have proper access to full sanitation. What is important to accept is that even when people have access to toilets, many prefer to use the outdoors.Read more at: http://www.livemint.com/Leisure/bGxKpEUgUCaUGkdX6RdnNL/Rohini-Nilekani-Why-we-must-measure-the-true-cost-of-sanita.html?utm_source=copy

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r.i.c.e. is a non-profit research organization focused on health and well-being in India. Our core focus is on children in rural north India. Our research studies health care at the start of life, sanitation, air pollution, maternal health, social inequality, and other dimensions of population-level social wellbeing.

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