South Asian experts call for gender sensitive sanitation

November 20th, 2008 - 11:01 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Nov 20 (IANS) Experts from South Asia converged in Delhi for an international sanitation conference Thursday calling for gender sensitive sanitation in schools and inclusion of the subject in regional countries’ public health policies.”Gender sensitive sanitation should be provided in schools and also menstrual hygiene management should be a part of sanitation,” an official statement from the rural development ministry said.

“Sanitation needs to be included in integrated public health policy and scavengers to be freed and rehabilitated from their dehumanising occupation,” the statement added.

The ministry is currently hosting the third South Asian Conference on Sanitation (SACOSAN-III).

The resolution passed by the experts said the “menstrual hygiene management should be viewed from a holistic perspective covering health, psychological, social and rights issues”.

“Menstrual hygiene management should include awareness promotions like attitudinal change of parents, men and youth,” the resolution said adding that sanitation services should include low cost sanitary napkins and safe disposal of waste.

“Sanitation is a onetime mission and if one generation is sensitised they will carry it forward for the future generations. From this perspective school-led Total Sanitation plays a very promising role in achieving the sanitation goals,” the resolution said.

The experts called for propagating toilet usage among people. Across the world, over two billion people don’t have access to toilets and half of them reside in South Asia. Among South Asian countries, the situation is worse in India, where 50 percent of the populations still defecate in the open.

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