Mission Swachhta Aur Paani hosts live mass advocacy program on World Health Day to emphasize the criticality of sanitation for good health

Union Health Minister, Shri Mansukh Mandaviya urged people to join Mission Swachhta Aur Paani at the World Health Day special event.

Mission Swachhta Aur Paani, an initiative by Harpic India and News18, marked World Health Day by hosting a live mass advocacy program on the critical need for inclusive sanitation and access to clean toilets for all. The program, aligned with the Swachh Bharat Mission and UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, aimed to emphasize the importance of good sanitation practices and toilet hygiene as the backbone of a healthy society, because Healthy Hum, Jab Saaf Rakhien Toilet Hardum.

The event saw participation from esteemed policy makers, cultural icons, celebrities, thought leaders, development sector professionals, water and sanitation experts, and academia, all emphasizing the need for clean and accessible toilets, especially in the context of public health. Hon’ble Governor of Uttar Pradesh Smt Anandiben Patel, and the Union Health Minister, Shri Mansukh Mandaviya, endorsed the critical need to inspire and instil toilet appropriate behaviour among people.

Union Health Minister, Shri Mansukh Mandaviya urged people to join Mission Swachhta Aur Paani at the World Health Day special event, and said, “I am proud to be a partner in this Mission Swachhta Aur Paani. Let no one be left out in our endeavour to create a safe, hygienic, and healthy India. This special campaign will surely lead to massive behavioural change and attitudinal shift in India on sanitation.”

Smt Anandiben Patel, Hon’ble Governor of Uttar Pradesh, said, “I congratulate Network18 and Harpic India for Mission Swachhta Aur Paani. Swachh Bharat is a vision for a Swasth Bharat. I appreciate the critical initiative ‘Diarrhoea Net Zero’ in Uttar Pradesh by Harpic India, which is working to achieve net zero deaths of children due to diarrhoea. Let's join this Mission to build a Swachh and Swasth India.”

During the live two-hour special World Health Day event, a host of experts, leaders, and celebrities came together to drive the message on toilet hygiene, the importance of appropriate toilet behaviour, and creating an environment where everyone has access to clean and safe toilets.

As a part of the World Health Day special event under the "Swachhta Ki Paathshala" initiative, which aimed to educate children about the importance of hygiene and sanitation, Actor, Entrepreneur and Wellness Influencer, Shilpa Shetty also visited a government school in Naraur in Varanasi to raise awareness about the importance of cleanliness and proper toilet behaviour. She interacted with young students and discussed various aspects of cleanliness, including the need for maintaining personal hygiene and the importance of using toilets properly, advocating the message of keeping the environment clean, and stressed the need for adopting responsible behaviour towards waste management.

She joined the event virtually from the school, and said, “Cleanliness is equal to godliness; it’s equal to good health, and also wealth. To prosper economically, it is crucial for individuals to be in good health and cleanliness, sanitation, and toilet appropriate behaviour are vital to ensure this.”

Expressing his views, Ravi Bhatnagar, the Director of External Affairs & Partnerships at SOA, Reckitt, Said, “The government's commitment to achieving universal sanitation coverage in India is steadfast. However, now that the necessary infrastructure is in place, it is critical to focus on maintaining, utilizing, and treating the toilets. Reckitt, in collaboration with the World Toilet Colleges, has trained over 70,000 people, including sanitation workers, to improve their skills in maintaining and cleaning toilets. Thousands of toilets have also been constructed in schools, public areas, and households. The mission aligns with the UN's SDGs, especially Goal 6, and has the commitment of Reckitt to support its goals. The partnership has contributed significantly to promoting sanitation and water conservation in India and the country's progress towards achieving the SDGs.”

Deputy Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh Shri Brajesh Pathak, who also participated in the event, emphasized the substantial rise in toilet infrastructure that has led to a decline in diseases and appealed to people to follow the communication of the Mission, "Healthy Hum, Jab Saaf Rakhien Toilet Hardum." Shri Pathak assured all support of the Government of UP in this Mission to inspire individuals and communities to take action towards creating a healthy and hygienic society for all.

Saurabh Jain, the Regional Marketing Director for South Asia - Hygiene at Reckitt, Said, “The Swachh Bharat Mission has made significant progress since its launch in 2014 with over 90 million toilets in use and open defecation almost eradicated. However, much more needs to be done to emphasize the critical importance of cleaning and disinfecting toilets to prevent the spread of diseases. Through Mission Swachhta Aur Paani, we aim to initiate essential conversations around sanitation, addressing the missing link to various forms of illness and ensuring that it remains a top priority for everyone.”

Avinash Kaul, Chief Executive Officer, Network18 and Managing Director, A + E Networks, TV18 said, “India has progressed by leaps and bounds in achieving universal sanitation coverage. Network18 feels it imperative to contribute to mobilize action on ground for the adoption of toilet appropriate behaviour, lack of which has been the reason for causing a number of diseases, adding to our national health burden and inhibiting productivity. Through Mission Swachhta Aur Paani we are resolute in inculcating hygienic toilet practices among the masses. We are certain that the Mission has begun to play a critical role and will be a crucial propeller in creating a healthy India where everyone will have access to clean and safe toilets.”

“More than 600 million people in the country face acute water shortages leading to sanitation deprivation. With India’s estimated water demand to become twice the available supply by 2030, the situation is only getting more challenging. With the Mission Swachhta Aur Paani initiative we are looking to create an ecosystem which will help India save millions of litres of water so that no home in India has to compromise on health, hygiene & sanitation due to inadequate availability of water. The Mission is driving conversation and inspiring action for clean and accessible toilets and toilet appropriate behaviour,” said Puneet Singhvi, CEO - Digital & President - Corporate Strategy at Network18 Media & Investments Limited.

Jack Sim, the visionary behind the World Toilet Organisation, emphasized how the World Toilet Colleges in India produces competent, expert sanitation workers and the significant ripple effect this has on society. Dr Komal Goswami from Plan India highlighted the importance of sanitation literacy and the birth of the concept of 'Swachhta ki Paathshala', a school of hygiene.

Many celebrities and influencers, including Jemima Rodrigues, Shenaz Treasurywala, Anunay Sood, Brinda Sharma, and Rashi Khanna, lent their support by magnifying the key messages of the Mission on their social media handles. They also encouraged people to join the movement, and the messages resonated well with citizens.

Grand Slam Winner and Former World No. 1 Tennis Player, Sania Mirza complimented the Mission for mobilising citizens for better sanitation and reinforcing awareness on hygiene and access to toilets, which are vital for a healthy society.

Mission Swachhta Aur Paani's continued endeavour to scale up the conversation and inspire behaviour change on toilet appropriate behaviour and good sanitation is making a significant impact on society. It is one of the first-of-its-kind campaigns to bring together diverse stakeholders and create a healthy and hygienic society for all.

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