New Delhi: At the NDTV-Dettol Banega Swasth India’s Lakshya – Sampoorn Swasthya Ka telethon, Temjen Imna Along, Minister for Education, Nagaland, talked about the change brought in by COVID in the north-eastern states. He said, “Hygiene is not only about washing hands and keeping clean, but it’s also about the holistic hygiene that each of us would pursue to keep ourselves healthy.”
The minister busted the myth surrounding the northeastern community’s not giving enough attention to hand hygiene. Mr. Along said that Nagaland was one of the few states that had a lower number of people affected during the coronavirus pandemic.
This was possible because of proper hygiene followed by people, the minister said.
Here are the highlights of what Mr. Temjen Imna Along said on the 12-hour Telethon:
- Mr. Along said the community initiatives on a large scale in Nagaland were an important factor during the coronavirus pandemic. There were fewer people in the state affected by the virus compared to the rest of India, because of the ground-level efforts of promoting cleanliness, adapting to COVID-19 norms, placing dustbins in almost every corner of all the villages, and much more.
- The northeastern region has some of the cleanest villages of India.
- The education ministry of Nagaland is working towards inculcating the right knowledge of holistic health and hygiene among the students. The children consider it as an integral part of their education system.
- COVID-19 has brought a tremendous change in Nagaland. It has made the students aware of the disaster the pandemic can have if proper hygiene is not maintained.
- In the education department, teachers are educating students about health and hygiene. “It is not just about washing hands, but maintaining an appropriate lifestyle of keeping oneself and the surroundings clean,” Mr. Along added.
- One of the best ways to implement health and hygiene in the country is through the communitisation of health issues.
- The coronavirus-focused caller tune introduced by the union health ministry was a novel approach to remind people of the pandemic and the measures that they can take to mitigate its effects, Mr. Along said.
- The awareness of menstrual hygiene has also been dealt with in Nagaland and nodal officers have done a brilliant job in it, the minister said. The state government has worked extensively towards the issue of public ignorance about menstrual hygiene.
Mr. Along emphasised community involvement as a critical component of COVID-19 prevention and control. He said,
A single person’s efforts may or may not have a huge reach, but a collective (community-wise) approach definitely paves the way to solve issues of public interest, and the coronavirus is a prime example.
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 – the LGBTQ 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 current COVID-19 pandemic, the need for WASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene) 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, fight malnutrition, 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 like air pollution, waste management, plastic ban, manual scavenging and sanitation workers and menstrual hygiene. Banega Swasth India will also be taking forward the dream of Swasth Bharat, the campaign feels that only a Swachh or clean India where toilets are used and open defecation free (ODF) status achieved as part of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014, can eradicate diseases like diahorrea and the country can be