New Delhi: NDTV-Dettol Banega Swasth India campaign marked August 15, Independence Day to mark the completion of nine years of the campaign with Campaign Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan, Union Health Minister Dr Mansukh Mandaviya and eminent doctors who are Padma awardees. The 2-hour special show celebrated the heroes from the healthcare sector, who have selflessly dedicated themselves to the service of others and have been recognised with prestigious Padma Awards.
Joining the panel was Ravi Bhatnagar, Director, External Affairs & Partnerships, SOA, Reckitt, who spoke about the achievements of the campaign so far. He said,
This is my 9th season with the campaign. We started with the bus that used to go to around 30 cities across India, covering mere 75 villages. From there to the journey of covering all 100 per cent aspirational districts in India, we have achieved a lot. Today, we are providing Hygiene Play Parks in various regions, making sure that every school child in public setting has access to a hygiene curriculum that can educate the child on hygiene in school, personal hygiene and hygiene in neighborhood. We are also focusing on reaching out to the tribal and indigenous populations, such as Siddi tribes.
Mr Bhatnagar also said that the campaign believes in the thought of leaving no one behind and achieving the goal of Lakshya Sampoorn Swasthya Ka or Health For All. He said,
We believe a lot of work has to be done with the indigenous population, especially in terms of neonatal care, making sure that the first 1000 days for both mother and child is taken care of. In Rajasthan, we are working with the tribes like Kalbelia, who are nomads and assuring that the last mile healthcare is accessible to them.
Talking about the new initiative of the campaign and how climate change is being incorporated within the campaign’s goal, Mr Bhatnagar said,
One new thing we have started is inculcating information about climate change among children. With NDTV, we have just launched the first Climate Resilient School in Uttarakhand. We have been witnessing in the news recently what is happening in parts of Himachal, and other hilly areas due to incessant rains. So, we are creating Climate Resilient Schools and we will be soon covering all the char dhams – Badrinath, Kedarnath, Yamunotri and Gangotri. The government is very keenly engaged in this work. The Uttarakhand government has promised that once this model is set up, they are going to work with us to put Climate Resilient Schools in place across India. So, our responsibility is not just to work on hygiene but to work beyond that on the concept of ‘One Health’.
Mr Bhatnagar also talked about the journey and achievements from Season 1 to Season 9 of the Banega Swasth India campaign. He said,
In the first season of Banega Swasth India we spoke about creating Hygiene Index, we started from just one city, from 1 we catered to 2 cities, from 2 we went to 5 and 5 to 25 cities, then we got an opportunity to make this Hygiene Index public. Today, that index is being used in the form of Swachh Survekshan across India in the form of rankings.
Highlighting the wishlist for the upcoming seasons, Mr Bhatnagar said,
Now, we are aiming towards building a Healthcare Council in India, which, currently is missing. I think, it is a great opportunity for India to work on this, we are a population of 1.4 billion, we should build a think tank in our country with a pool of our many successful doctors who can help us achieve the goal of One Health And One Planet.
Underlining the importance of building a health council, Mr Bhatnagar added,
A few years ago, I established Reckitt Global Institute in London, we had Dr Randeep Guleria from AIIMS that time, we also had doctors from every continent. We established that council globally and we have recently published a study with one of the leading universities from London that highlights the effect of climate change on Diarrhoea. Because of the study, we realised that Diarrhoea is just not a disease that happens because of more flooding or drought. I want to build a health council sitting in India for the country. The point being, if we will have more councils like these in the country, greater will be the chance of healthcare reaching the last mile, more will be the chance of solutions to the problems, thereby achieving the goal of health for all.
Mr Bhatnagar also highlighted that it is important for India to invest in research. Sharing his wishlist for the upcoming seasons for the Banega Swasth India campaign, he concluded the discussion by adding,
We need to focus on Ethnography research (a qualitative method for collecting data often used in the social and behavioral sciences). As, if we don’t send our researchers to live in those settings, we will not be able to get anything. We need to understand the dynamics and logistics of all areas and then come up with solutions and I think, building health council in India will solve this problem to a large extent.
NDTV – Dettol have been working towards a clean and healthy India since 2014 via the Banega Swachh India initiative, which is helmed by Campaign Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan. The campaign aims to highlight the inter-dependency of humans and the environment, and of humans on one another with the focus on One Health, One Planet, One Future – Leaving No One Behind. It stresses on the need to take care of, and consider, everyone’s health in India – especially vulnerable communities – theLGBTQ population,indigenous people, India’s different tribes, ethnic and linguistic minorities, people with disabilities, migrants, geographically remote populations, gender and sexual minorities. In wake of the currentCOVID-19 pandemic, the need for WASH (Water,SanitationandHygiene) is reaffirmed as handwashing is one of the ways to prevent Coronavirus infection and other diseases. The campaign will continue to raise awareness on the same along with focussing on the importance of nutrition and healthcare for women and children, fightmalnutrition, mental wellbeing, self care, science and health,adolescent health & gender awareness. Along with the health of people, the campaign has realised the need to also take care of the health of the eco-system. Our environment is fragile due to human activity, which is not only over-exploiting available resources, but also generating immense pollution as a result of using and extracting those resources. The imbalance has also led to immense biodiversity loss that has caused one of the biggest threats to human survival – climate change. It has now been described as a “code red for humanity.” The campaign will continue to cover issues likeair pollution,waste management,plastic ban,manual scavengingand sanitation workers andmenstrual hygiene. Banega Swasth India will also be taking forward the dream of Swasth Bharat, the campaign feels that only a Swachh or clean India wheretoiletsare used andopen defecation free (ODF)status achieved as part of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan launched byPrime Minister Narendra Modiin 2014, can eradicate diseases like diahorrea and the country can become a Swasth or healthy India.