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19% households do not use any toilet facility: NFHS

19% households do not use any toilet facility: NFHS

New Delhi: Even though India was declared Open Defecation Free by the government in 2019, the latest National Family Health Survey conducted in 2019-21 showed that 19 percent of households do not use any toilet facility.

However, the report said the percentage of households practising open defecation decreased from 39 percent in 2015-16 to 19 per cent in 2019-21.

Access to a toilet facility is lowest in Bihar (62 per cent), followed by Jharkhand (70 per cent) and Odisha (71 per cent).

The NFHS-5 found that 69 percent of households use an improved sanitation facility that is not shared with other households and eight percent use a facility that would be considered improved if it was not shared.

"Nineteen percent of households have no facility, which means that the household members practice open defecation," the report said.

"Eighty-three percent of households have access to a toilet facility. Sixty-nine percent of Indian households use improved toilet facilities, which are non-shared facilities that prevent people from coming into contact with human waste and can reduce the transmission of cholera, typhoid, and other diseases," it said.

The survey found that 11 percent of urban households use a shared facility, compared with seven percent of rural households.

Access to a toilet facility ranges from 69 percent among scheduled tribe households to 93 percent among households which are not Scheduled Caste, Scheduled Tribe, or Other Backward Class households.

On safe drinking water, the report showed that 58 percent of households do not treat their water prior to drinking.

Highlighting a key gap in child nutrition, the report has found that 89 per cent of children between the formative ages of 6-23 months do not receive a "minimum acceptable diet". This is only marginally better than the 90.4 per cent recorded in NFHS-4.

The NFHS report looked at adequate diet for both breastfeeding and non-breastfeeding children till they reached two years.

It found that 88.9 per cent of children between 6-23 months, who are breastfeeding, did not receive adequate diet in 2019-2020 — a slight improvement from 91.3 per cent in 2015-16. And that 87.3 per cent of non-breastfeeding children in this category did not receive adequate nutrition in 2019-21, up from 85.7 per cent in 2015-16.

Meanwhile, about 50 per cent of women aged 15-24 years still use cloth for menstrual protection, according to the latest report, with experts attributing it to lack of awareness and taboo existing around menstruation. The experts also said that if an unclean cloth is reused, it increases exposure to multiple local infections.

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