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Water, sanitation, and hygiene practices among population living in slums, Jhansi, Uttar Pradesh, India

Renu Agarwal, Nitin Tiwari, Anil Kumar Malhotra.


Background: Water- and sanitation-related disease, despite being preventable, remains one of the most significant child health problems worldwide. Unsafe water, poor sanitation, and unhygienic practices cause millions of children in the developing world to suffer needlessly from disease. A significant proportion of deaths can be prevented through safe drinking water, adequate sanitation and hygiene.

Objectives: (1) To assess water sanitation and hygiene practices among population living in slums. (2) To find out an association between WaSH and neglected tropical diseases (NTDs).

Materials and Methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted among families living in slum areas of Jhansi district in Uttar Pradesh. The study sample consisted of women in the age group of 15-49 years. A pre-tested semi-structured questionnaire was used for interview and data were analyzed using Epi Info

Results: Out of the total families, 42% reported the source of water as public hand pumps and doing nothing at home to make the water safe for drinking. Around 63% of the families reported storing water in a proper way in a utensil. Open defecation was still a reported practice (29%). One-third of respondents reported washing their hands before eating and after defecation and only 37% using soap for hand washing after defecation. A significant association was found between NTDs and condition of kitchen, storage of food, hand washing habits, and place of defecation.

Conclusion: Overall, among the participants, there were both lack of adequate hand washing and sanitation practices. Therefore, there is a need to encourage people to adopt healthy habits and practices. There is an immense need for sensitization of slum population through health education and promotion to improve the health and environment conditions.

Key words: Water; Sanitation, and Hygiene; Neglected Tropical Diseases; Hand Washing; Sanitation Practices; Slums

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