Health benefits of India’s Total Sanitation Campaign are minimal, study finds

BMJ 2014; 349 doi: (Published 27 August 2014) Cite this as: BMJ 2014;349:g5313
  1. Priyanka Pulla
  1. 1Bangalore

A study to measure the effectiveness of India’s Total Sanitation Campaign (TSC), a 15 year drive to eliminate open defecation across India, has found the health benefits in two central Indian districts to be minimal.

Research published in PLoS Medicine1 looked at 80 villages in the central Indian state of Madhya Pradesh. The randomised and controlled trial looked at rates of access to and the use of latrines, the quality of drinking water, sanitation behaviour, and child health parameters in 40 villages where toilets were built as part of the campaign, and they compared them with 40 control villages that did not receive the intervention.

The study—led by Sumeet R Patil, research director at NEERMAN, a Mumbai based nongovernmental health organisation—found a modest improvement in the use of latrines but little reduction in the occurrence of diarrhoea and other protozoan infections in children. It also found no major improvement in growth outcomes such …

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