More than 2.5 million lives can be saved if sanitation facilities all around the world are improved for the population which lacks access to water & knowledge of hygiene, leading to life threatening diseases. One such country where sanitation has proven to be a big worry is Pakistan, who loses more than $6 billion on an annual basis. Noted by the World Bank, that the total amount of losses suffered by the country is 7 times higher than the national health budget & almost 4 percent of the GDP. India too has had shortage of toilet facilities over the past years which through a telling statistic is 60% of the country have no access to basic toilets.
Despite efforts by the Government of Pakistan, they have not been able to meet the global standards for water, sanitation & hygiene. On the other hand the Indian rural development minister Jairam Ramesh after a meeting with Bill Gates have drawn few initiatives for development in Rural India. This issue has gradually started to affect the entire world as Asian & African countries are estimated to lose 6 percent of their GDP which is also caused because of the lack of water supply. To overcome this problem, The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has decided to offer safe sanitation and to design toilets for them to prevent relieving themselves in the open which is the major cause of diseases throughout the world. They have also started an initiative called “Reinventing the Toilet” which involves 22 universities around the world which is doing its current research on overcoming hygiene problems & developing a low cost sanitation all around the world. In India, the government’s new “Nirmal Bharat Abhiyan” campaign aims to end defecation within 10 years in the country. These benefits are to be reaped by the Indian Railways as well as 11million people commute on daily basis, without appropriate water supply & hygienic conditions.
The Indian Government has also urged the Gates foundation that they should look closely to development in India as nearly 58% of all open defecations happen in this very country. The Million Development Goals has cemented their goal to provide safe drinking water to more than half of the population who does not receive it at the moment. A United Kingdom based agency, Water Aid has embarked that if the goals set up by MDG are met by 2015 & if sanitation facility requirements are met then the lives of 4,00,000 children can be saved from the 57 countries that come under this initiative. The business avenues do not seem less in this field, where it is worked out by the World Health Organization that the return on investment, if invested 1 dollar stands at 8 dollars, reaping enormous profit benefits. In a comparative study, if one looks out at the huge amount of billion dollar expenditure on the nuclear & defense related weapons in Pakistan, it would be wise of their government to spend on better facilities to prevent the millions from defecation in the open environment. In contrast, India also suffers the same problem, though the thought is best left in dilemma with the Government of our country who currently portrays a poor image even on the faces of Indian citizens.