Post Pandemic Preparedness: Experts Recommend Gearing Up To Meet The Country’s Water And Sanitation Challenges

Post Pandemic Preparedness: Experts Recommend Gearing Up To Meet The Country’s Water And Sanitation Challenges

Experts recommend that in order to contain the ongoing pandemic and prevent the future ones, it is important to strengthen people’s access to water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) in the country
Coronavirus Outbreak, News, Sanitation
- in Coronavirus Outbreak, News, Sanitation
Post Pandemic Preparedness: Experts Recommend Gearing Up To Meet The Country’s Water And Sanitation ChallengesSafely managed WASH services form one of the most cost-effective strategies for increasing pandemic preparedness, say experts
  • When it comes to WASH, no one should be left behind: Industry Experts
  • Sanitation is about behaviour change and not just building toilets: Experts
  • Corporates and government should come together to ensure WASH for all

New Delhi: As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to rage in the world affecting the lives of almost everyone and as the country scrambles to fight it, experts believe that it should also prepare for the post-pandemic challenges. According to experts, in order to contain the ongoing pandemic and prevent future ones, it is important to strengthen people’s access to water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) in the country. While discussing at the fourth ISC-FICCI Sanitation Awards and India Sanitation Conclave, organized by the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI), industry experts emphasised on how safely managed WASH services form one of the most cost-effective strategies for increasing pandemic preparedness, especially in resource-constrained settings.

Also Read: Parameswaran Iyer From World Bank Shares The ‘ABCDEF’ Of Swachh Bharat Abhiyan And India’s ODF Journey

According to Neeraj Jain, Country Director, PATH India, WASH is currently the best protection against the coronavirus. He said,

The pandemic has brought a complex situation with it. All the stakeholders have to come together to deal with it. For the last 15-20 years, we have been hearing and talking about pandemic ready to hit but when it did hit, we just didn’t know what to do and we still don’t know to mitigate its impact. But the one thing that we do know is that hygiene is going to be critical.

Stressing on the point that sanitation is not about just building toilets and doing some communication around it, Ravi Bhatnagar, Director, External Affairs and Partnerships Asia Middle East and SouthAfrica, Reckitt Benckiser said,

Investing in behaviour change is the key. As owners of brands like Dettol, Harpic, Lysol and many others, it becomes our responsibility to not limit ourselves to our own employees. We should take care of our consumers. Therefore, we focus on leaving no one behind and for exactly this, we have formed Access Fund. The aim is to help control COVID-19 through comprehensive interventions integrating WASH and nutrition.

He further asserted that the ongoing pandemic is a wakeup call and all the sectors need to work together because this crisis may remain for a longer time and there maybe many others in the future.

While talking about how businesses contribute to strengthening WASH practices during the recovery phase of a disease outbreak to mitigate secondary impacts on community livelihood and wellbeing, Dilip Chenoy, Secretary-General, FICCI said,

The businesses need to ensure that people, where they live, have access to basic amenities like water and sanitation. Sometimes, we may even have to encourage them shift homes in order to access proper WASH facilities. If possible, the organisations like should arrange for housing for workers.

Also Read:  To Eliminate Manual Scavenging, Promote Mechanised Sewer Cleaning, Centre Launches ‘Safaimitra Suraksha Challenge’ In 243 Cities

He further said that during the lockdown, a lot of corporates, under their CSR initiatives (Corporate Social Responsibility) undertook a lot of activities. The CSR can be tapped to ensure better WASH in the recovery phase. He said,

There are three things that need focus for post pandemic preparedness. First is to bring the employees back as they have migrated to their towns. Second is to have sufficient clean and hygienic housing. It also includes maintaining sanitation facilities at the workplace, factories by providing proper toilets. The social distancing norms say that in a toilet complex, you can use only the alternate ones. This is a challenge that needs to be met. The third part is that there is a need to focus on social messaging. The companies need to play advocacy roles in order to tell people what are the important steps- like sanitising, wearing masks and social distancing that they need to take to remain safe.

Talking about the methods of interventions through which the importance of WASH can be imparted at workplaces- both in the formal and informal setups like meeting rooms, cafeteria and field locations among other, Mukul Rastogi, Vice President, ITC said,

A lot of people are concerned about coming back to workplace because of the fear of contracting COVID-19. In this case, the employer need to take up right kind of WASH measures in order to prevent transmissions by ensuring hygiene for the employees.

She further highlighted that every workplace is different and so it has its own set of WASH needs. Giving examples, she further said that at a retail store, the employees are in constant engagement with customers who are coming from outside while in a factory, the workers may not be interacting with people as much but have high touching zones as they are constantly touching things. Therefore, she recommended that employers must study their workplace and customise the WASH mechanisms and cleaning protocols accordingly.

Also Read: With Messages Of Hopes And Progress Towards Sanitation, World Toilet Day 2020 Found Ample Support Among Citizens

Ms. Rastogi asserted that at most places, the employers are taking actions like keeping sanitisers at various points, encouraging employees to follow physical distancing by marking on the floor of the cafeteria and other common spaces.

Ms. Rastogi suggests that one of the ways to contain transmission of the virus is through Information Technology (IT). She said,

Many employers including ITC have created phone applications and made all the employees download it. So any information/ advisory/ communication that you wish send out, reaches all the employees fairly quickly. This is a very important part.

Ms. Rastogi further advised that the corporates must make use of their advertisement and communication mechanism to create appealing messages in order to encourage behaviour change among the employees and help them adopt such WASH practices that help minimise the infection risk.

According to Dr. Pankaj Bhardwaj, Professor, Department of Community Medicine, AIIMS Jodhpur, the disease can occur only when there is an interaction among the agent, host and the environment. Highlighting the role of the environment from the point of view of public health, Dr. Bhardwaj said,

In order to break the chain of transmission, it is important to focus on the health of the environment. Along with this behaviour change and interventions like Swachh Bharat Mission are vital for the improvement of public health. During a study we did in the past, we found that because of the sanitation programmes, especially constructing toilets in slums, villages and among the vulnerable communities, diarrhoeal cases have gone down by 10-15 per cent across the country.

He further said that when it comes to coronavirus related diseases, hand hygiene is the most important measure. Therefore, there is no other way but to provide WASH services to the people to save them and prevent further diseases.

Also Read: 43 People Have Died Due To Manual Scavenging This Year, Says Safai Karmachari Andolan’s Bezwada Wilson On Kaun Banega Crorepati

NDTV – Dettol Banega Swasth India campaign is an extension of the five-year-old Banega Swachh India initiative helmed by Campaign Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan. It aims to spread awareness about critical health issues facing the country. In wake of the current COVID-19 pandemic, the need for WASH (WaterSanitation and Hygiene) is reaffirmed as handwashing is one of the ways to prevent Coronavirus infection and other diseases. The campaign highlights the importance of nutrition and healthcare for women and children to prevent maternal and child mortality, fight malnutrition, stunting, wasting, anaemia and disease prevention through vaccines. Importance of programmes like Public Distribution System (PDS), Mid-day Meal Scheme, POSHAN Abhiyan and the role of Aganwadis and ASHA workers are also covered. 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 become a Swasth or healthy India. The campaign will continue to cover issues like air pollutionwaste managementplastic banmanual scavenging and sanitation workers and menstrual hygiene


Coronavirus has spread to 193 countries. The total confirmed cases worldwide are 17,66,30,634 and 38,22,022 have died; 5,80,25,717 are active cases and 11,47,82,895 have recovered as on June 16, 2021 at 3:30 am.


2,96,33,105 62,224Cases
2,83,88,100 1,07,628Recovered
3,79,573 2,542Deaths
In India, there are 2,96,33,105 confirmed cases including 3,79,573 deaths. The number of active cases is 8,65,432 and 2,83,88,100 have recovered as on June 16, 2021 at 2:30 am.

State Details

State Cases Active Recovered Deaths

59,24,773 7,652

1,41,440 8,982

56,69,179 15,176

1,14,154 1,458


27,77,010 5,041

1,62,303 9,859

25,81,559 14,785

33,148 115


27,48,204 12,246

1,12,792 1,456

26,23,904 13,536

11,508 166

Tamil Nadu

23,78,298 11,805

1,25,215 11,669

22,23,015 23,207

30,068 267

Andhra Pradesh

18,20,134 5,741

75,134 4,879

17,32,948 10,567

12,052 53

Uttar Pradesh

17,03,207 270

7,221 890

16,74,072 1,104

21,914 56

West Bengal

14,68,044 3,268

20,046 1,125

14,30,949 2,068

17,049 75


14,31,498 228

3,078 148

14,03,569 364

24,851 12


9,88,172 609

11,717 943

9,63,113 1,544

13,342 8


9,50,133 172

5,619 848

9,35,658 1,006

8,856 14


8,59,526 3,405

44,358 3,436

8,11,780 6,799

3,388 42


8,21,078 352

8,884 658

8,02,187 1,006

10,007 4

Madhya Pradesh

7,88,649 224

3,610 331

7,76,424 528

8,615 27


7,66,357 228

3,703 374

7,53,584 564

9,070 38


7,17,949 410

4,360 412

7,04,075 813

9,514 9


6,06,436 1,556

19,933 528

5,82,993 2,070

3,510 14


5,89,153 628

10,802 1,111

5,62,701 1,691

15,650 48


4,66,590 3,415

41,184 475

4,21,378 2,906

4,028 34


3,43,793 184

2,646 416

3,36,058 596

5,089 4


3,37,449 274

3,642 266

3,26,822 515

6,985 25

Jammu And Kashmir

3,08,726 715

12,407 1,125

2,92,114 1,830

4,205 10

Himachal Pradesh

1,99,197 321

4,050 382

1,91,737 691

3,410 12


1,63,048 327

4,175 231

1,55,926 548

2,947 10


1,13,192 355

4,668 279

1,06,828 629

1,696 5


61,200 40

486 21

59,917 58

797 3


61,096 785

8,744 301

51,354 476

998 8


60,385 536

4,886 65

54,870 596

629 5


42,759 450

4,430 99

37,579 542

750 7

Arunachal Pradesh

31,938 290

2,849 40

28,934 326

155 4


23,854 101

2,972 229

20,423 327

459 3


19,649 38

552 20

18,898 57

199 1


18,659 209

3,239 67

15,136 273

284 3


15,899 268

3,637 45

12,191 312

71 1

Dadra And Nagar Haveli

10,473 9

61 2

10,408 7



9,297 61

484 36

8,768 96

45 1

Andaman And Nicobar Islands

7,280 11

105 4

7,049 15


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