WATER, SANITATION & HEALTH
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WATER & SANITATION, HEALTH & EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT

Poverty and adverse societal norms have deprived a majority of the poor and marginalised in India of access to adequate and nutritive food and essential healthcare. Women and children suffer disproportionate impacts of the lacunae. While a large number of children go without the nutrition and healthcare essential for their physical & mental development, women have to suffer lives of extreme drudgery and a high rate of avoidable mortality due to lack of access to healthcare.Closely associated is the status of safe water: water is neither safe nor sustainable, and in rural areas very few of the households have access to sanitation or to piped drinking water.India’s neglected and underserved communities have every right to clean water, essential sanitation, and high-quality healthcare – no one should be left behind when it comes to these basic human necessities.... Read More

Poverty and adverse societal norms have deprived a majority of the poor and marginalised in India of access to adequate and nutritive food and essential healthcare. Women and children suffer disproportionate impacts of the lacunae. While a large number of children go without the nutrition and healthcare essential for their physical & mental development, women have to suffer lives of extreme drudgery and a high rate of avoidable mortality due to lack of access to healthcare.Closely associated is the status of safe water: water is neither safe nor sustainable, and in rural areas very few of the households have access to sanitation or to piped drinking water.India’s neglected and underserved communities have every right to clean water, essential sanitation, and high-quality healthcare – no one should be left behind when it comes to these basic human necessities.

Pragya WASH programme is multi-pronged in its efforts to address these issues in a holistic fashion. Pragya works to bring clean drinking water to last mile communities underserved in this regard, implementing the most appropriate water solutions for them. Our hygiene and sanitation work combines knowledge and awareness building with the construction of shared sanitation facilities in villages and schools, using a range of suitable, innovative and low-cost, low-maintenance technologies. Our comprehensive healthcare work is both preventative and curative, spanning nutrition, road and workplace safety, pop-up health clinics for the last mile where the need is greatest, and maternal healthcare. Through these initiatives, Pragya helps alleviate hardships and promotes dignity among neglected communities.

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Success story

Health camps in remote villages

In an attempt to improve the health status of one of the most backward districts in Northern Bihar in India, Pragya organized health camps in five vil

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WATER & SANITATION, HEALTH & EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT

SAFE DRINKING WATER, SANITATION AND HYGIENE

The deprived communities with which Pragya works commonly have no access to piped water for drinking, and very few households have toilet facilities. Large sections of the rural poor are dependent on streams & springs for drinking water & domestic use; drought and climate change has resulted in severe water scarcity and hardship for them. Open defecation is still practised, since majority of those at the bottom of the pyramid lack access to proper sanitation. A high incidence of water-borne and communicable diseasesresult, and children are the most vulnerable to these. Women and girls have to suffer drudgery of collecting water from sources beyond their household premises. Schools without toilets are commonplace, adversely impacting girls’ school attendance rates and so their level of educational attainment and prospects for the future. These issues are exacerbated for last mile and neglected populations with inadequate access to healthcare facilities and poor knowledge of basic hygiene practices, and are of urgent concern in post-disaster settings where outbreaks of water-borne diseases can reach epidemic proportions, with few resources are available for such communities to help themselves and address critical needs.

WATER & SANITATION, HEALTH & EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT

SAFE DRINKING WATER, SANITATION AND HYGIENE

Pragya adopts a comprehensive approach to water and sanitation security for communities that lack these basic amenities, encompassing safe and adequate drinking water, appropriate sanitation facilities, and hygiene education.

We work towards sustainable access to water for rural communities. In northern India, we help communities with water harvesting and managementcustomised to particular climates, such as revitalisation and protection of natural springs that are used for drinking water in mountain regions and rainwater harvesting in natural depressions and on rooftops in arid areas. Covered water storage tanks and filtration systems are installed to ensure safe drinking water for communities.

Pragya constructs toilets for shared usefor communities resorting to open defecation; in this we always ensure the construction of blocks of two toilets, with one each for male and female users, and encourage eco-sanitation techniques. We also promote sanitation and hygiene in schools, and build school toiletsto improve children’s sanitation facilities and simultaneously boost girls’ school attendance rates. Complementing these material inputs, we encourage long term positive behavioural changethrough training on personal and household hygiene, accompanied by waste cleaning drives by community youth.

To help ensure the sustainability of these measures, Pragya emphasizes the empowerment of communities for their own water and sanitation management. We establish Water and Sanitation Committeesfor local, grassroots management of WASH resources. Media campaigns are conducted on hygiene and safe water and our training programs for local masons build their skills in various water and sanitation technologies.

Pragya recognizes the technology variations required for different geographies and specific needs, and moulds them accordingly. Thus we have built dry toiletsfor high mountain communities and prefabricated toiletsfor the disaster-affected in relief camps, and developed and provided portable water tanksfor nomadic people.

WATER & SANITATION, HEALTH & EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT

SAFE DRINKING WATER, SANITATION AND HYGIENE

GEOGRAPHY / LOCATION

Our Programme on Safe Drinking Water, Sanitation and Hygiene is being/ has been implemented in northern India, including in the states of Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu & Kashmir and Uttarakhand.

  • ISSUES
  • What we do
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WATER & SANITATION, HEALTH & EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT

HEALTH AND NUTRITION FOR WOMEN AND CHILDREN

India suffers high Maternal Mortality and Child Mortality rates. This follows from a combination of factors, including a severe shortage of quality medical facilities and qualified staff, poor access to those medical facilities that are available due to long distances or challenging terrain, and little understanding amongst communities of preventive health. Many of the communities with which Pragya works are also afflicted by high levels of malnutrition and hunger, with women and children most at risk. Large numbers of children suffer from poor physical and mental development, as a consequence of inadequate and poor quality of diet. Worse, this begins in utero, as a consequence of malnourishment in pregnant women. Micronutrient deficiencies are on the rise in the country (particularly iron deficiency, Vitamin A deficiency; iodine deficiency), but programmes to address these are inadequate and reach only a small minority. Malnutrition has been determined to be among the leading causes of high rates of mortality among women and children in India.

WATER & SANITATION, HEALTH & EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT

HEALTH AND NUTRITION FOR WOMEN AND CHILDREN

Pragya’s Health & Nutrition programme in poor, underserved communities involves working with government, health workers as well as communities, with a particular focus on reducing health issues and malnutrition among women and children.

Pragya has developed an innovative Health Surveillance systemto track the health status of women and children in villages, to ensure timely treatment and referral to hospitals. The system is centred on reproductive health of women and childhood diseases. We train Community Health Workers to use the system effectively, and we also develop women’s peer support groupsin villages to ensure near-at-hand ante- and postnatal health support for the group members. 

For the most remote communities that lack access to health facilities, we deliver temporary pop-up health clinicsin collaboration with local health departments, whilst also operating a series of health kiosksequipped with a variety of healthcare documents and audio-visuals, and staffed by local women working to promote awareness of available health schemes. In an effort to strengthen the links between underserved rural communities and government health schemes, Pragya is working to empower Village Health Committees through training and education. 

We educate women’s groups in household food budgeting and family diet and nutrition, and train them in nutrient-dense farmingmethods and support them to cultivate nutritive vegetable crops in kitchen-gardens which counter their specific nutritional deficiencies. We also support local schools to develop vegetable gardens, engaging the children and instilling in them values around diet, health and nutrition.In addition, Community Health Workers are trained to monitor the nutritional status of women and children, helping identify families and individuals in need of immediate dietary adjustments. This initiative draws on Pragya’s research on nutritional deficiencies among women and children- see ResearchFood and fodder storage has been supported for remote villages characterised by seasonal shortages. Weather-resistant warehouses have been set up which guarantee foodgrains during months of food shortage and communities have been trained in inventory management. Fodder farms and banks have also been created for pastoral communities.

WATER & SANITATION, HEALTH & EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT

HEALTH AND NUTRITION FOR WOMEN AND CHILDREN

GEOGRAPHY / LOCATION

Our Programme on Health and Nutrition for Women and Children is being/ has been implemented in northern India, including in the states of Assam, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu & Kashmir and Uttarakhand.

 

  • ISSUES
  • What we do
  • Impacts

WATER & SANITATION, HEALTH & EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT

ROAD SAFETY AND EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT

India has one of the highest rates of road traffic accidents in the world, and averages 400 fatalities per day, with vulnerable road users – pedestrians, motorcyclists and cyclists – accounting for around half of all deaths occurring on the road. The country has the second largest road network in the world, but a combination of poor quality and uneven road surfaces, increasing vehicular traffic and poor quality of vehicles, poor awareness of road safety and low adherence to norms, has meant that the rate of road accidents is rising. At the same time, poor communications access and sparse presence of adequate medical or accident response facilities, increases the number of avoidable fatalities as accident victims often do not receive timely, life-saving care. Ensuring road safety on India’s rural roads and highways in severe terrains, is especially difficult. It must be noted that road construction workers are a group that is particularly vulnerable to a range of health hazards associated with their work as well as to road accidents.

WATER & SANITATION, HEALTH & EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT

ROAD SAFETY AND EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT

Pragya is working to improve road safety on India’s highways in the Himalayas, through a combination of preventative, preparedness and response initiatives.

Pragya is conducting road safety campaignsacross the region, using local media and art, as well as awareness sessions in schools, villages and marketplaces, targeting the 15-49 age group and truckers and motorcyclists. We are mobilising youth groups and engaging with local driving schools and enlightened drivers to act as road safety championsin their communities/groups, providing them thorough training in road safety best practices. Pragya is particularly focused on improving access to vehicle check-up / servicing and is helping local entrepreneurs set up vehicle repair workshopsalong the highways, whilst working with the government to address vehicle fitness.

Pragya is also implementing an integrated Emergency Trauma Response Networkin the region, based on a series of coordination points, comprising traffic control points, police outposts and youth groups. These coordination points are supplied with specialist equipment and trained forfirst response / emergency extricationof victims from vehicles, and linked with the region’s hospitals and medical facilities for pre-planned transport of accident victims. In consultation with local government, we are establishing emergency response guidelines, and agreeing key sites for the stationing of specially equipped ambulances

We are upgrading hospitals and medical facilitiesalong accident-prone routes, and building capacity of medical staff to provide emergency care to accident victims through certified training in Advanced Trauma and Life Support. We are also initiating an Emergency Helpline and developing a mobile app for commuters(and capable accident victims) to contact the coordination points in the event of an emergency.

As an allied strand of this programme, Pragya also works to address the safety of migrant workers that undertake road constructionwork on India’s highways- read more in Safety and Welfare of Migrant Workers.

WATER & SANITATION, HEALTH & EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT

ROAD SAFETY AND EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT

GEOGRAPHY / LOCATION

Pragya’s work on Road Safety and Emergency Management is being implemented along the highways of north India across the states of Himachal Pradesh, Jammu & Kashmir. Our work with safety of migrant workers also stretched our coverage to the states of Arunachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand.

 

  • ISSUES
  • What we do
  • Impacts