Toilet Parliament - and Health Democracy Through Health Parliament At Grassroot Level Is The Need Of The Hour (India)

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  • PrabhatMisra
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  • Deputy Director, National Savings, Agra Division, Agra, India. Founder of anti-deforestation "Red Tape Movement" and "Toilet Parliament". Follow me on Twitter @PrabhatMisra
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Toilet Parliament - and Health Democracy Through Health Parliament At Grassroot Level Is The Need Of The Hour (India)

India is home to the world’s largest population of people who defecate in the open. According to UNICEF, in India more than half of the population defecate in open which is 59% of the 1.1 billion people in the world who practise open defecation.

We are living in the 21st Century, the Century Of Climate Change. With the rise of mean global temperature, the population of disease causing vectors will also increase. These vectors, like mosquitoes & flies, are carriers of diseases like diarrhoea, dysentery, cholera, Chikungunya, Dengue etc. Open defecation is making the situation worst and helping to spread these diseases. Every year 188,000 children or more than 500 children die because of open defecation.

India is trying best to make Swachh Bharat or Clean India. In this regard, District Administration of Firozabad formed a new model named ‘Toilet Parliament’ to encourage villagers for cleanliness, to use toilets and stop the practice of open defecation. This model is the idea of Mr Prabhat Misra, Assistant Director, National Savings, Firozabad.

This is a new kind of democracy, that is, ‘Sanitation Democracy’. After the recommendation of Chief Development Officer Mr Ashok Kumar and approval of District Magistrate Mrs Neha Sharma, model has been implemented in Firozabad district. District Panchayat Raj Officer Mr Girish Chandra will be the Nodal Officer of ‘Toilet Parliament’ activities.

The first ‘Toilet Parliament’ has been formed in Mohammadpur Nadayi village of Firozabad district of Uttar Pradesh province of India on experimental basis.

Parliament is comprises of villagers who have personal or government toilets, village head, village secretary, school headmasters, sanitary workers, Asha, Anganwadi, Auxiliary Nurse Midwife (ANM) and retired government employees.

Members of ‘Toilet Parliament’ will work collectively and voluntarily to encourage villagers for construction and use of toilets.
Members will act as ‘Cleanliness or Sanitation Ambassador’ and promote cleanliness. Every week, Members will organise ‘cleanliness drive’ to clean the village.
Members will cooperate ANM, Anganwadi, Asha and government officials to cope with malnourishment and to help pregnant women for good health.
For ‘Clean and Healthy Society’, members will help in ‘social and behaviour change’.
Female members will encourage the use of ‘sanitary napkins’ by young girls and women.

‘Toilet Parliament’ will help ‘Swachh Bharat Mission’ and District Administration to make ‘Open Defecation Free’ District.
It is a revolutionary sanitation step and is based on Awareness, Education and Campaign (ACE). A twitter account, @ToiletSansad, has been created to provide latest informations about the activities and achievements of ‘Toilet Parliament’.
Globally, this model will be helpful for making a ‘Clean Society’.

Thanks

Prabhat Misra
Assistant Director, National Savings, District- Firozabad, Province- Uttar Pradesh Country- India
Prabhat Misra
Deputy Director, National Savings, Agra Division, Agra, Uttar Pradesh, India
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  • PrabhatMisra
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  • Deputy Director, National Savings, Agra Division, Agra, India. Founder of anti-deforestation "Red Tape Movement" and "Toilet Parliament". Follow me on Twitter @PrabhatMisra
  • Posts: 3
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Re: Toilet Parliament - and Health Democracy Through Health Parliament At Grassroot Level Is The Need Of The Hour (India)



We are living in the 21st Century, the Century Of Climate Change. With the rise of mean global temperature and anthropogenic activities, the population of disease causing vectors will also increase. These vectors are carriers of mainy deadly diseases like diarrhoea, dysentery, plague, Nile virus, cholera, Chikungunya, Dengue, Covid19 etc. Many more epidemics, due to anthropogenic activities, are waiting to come . According to IPCC’s Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5ºC (October 2018), there will need to be an increase in global forest cover equal to the land area of Canada (10 million sq.km) by the year 2050 to avoid temperature rise by more than 1.5 degrees above pre-industrial levels. In 2019, atmospheric CO2 concentration was 47% above the pre-industrial level. At present, Earth is under severe pressure due to emission of greenhouse gases (GHGs). The world is on the brink of ‘household explosion’. The total number of global households are growing much faster than the growth of the world population. The average size of household in India as per 2011 census was 4.8 members per household, while in the 2001 Census the size of household was 5.3. Increasing the number and decreasing the size of households means the same number of people are living in more than one home and causing more pressure on forests and the environment.

The world is facing the COVID-19 pandemic. Humans are confined to their homes. This epidemic is destroying the socio-economic framework of nations. It is said that environmental degradation and ecological imbalance are responsible for this pandemic. It is the result of anthropogenic climate change and deforestation.

It is said that the disease spillover to humans may increase as the climate becomes warmer. Current human population of about 7.6 billion people is expected to be 10 billion by 2050. Such a growing size will create pressure on our ecosystems. Further degradation of habitats, forests and biodiversity will result in more such pandemics and epidemics.

Deforestation is making the situation worse and accelerating the transmission of infectious diseases by vector displacement. Such vector animals, which carry viruses, move into regions where they’ve never existed before and increase our vulnerability to diseases. This creates a greater possibility of dispersion of zoonotic diseases like HIV, Ebola, Nipah, Zika, current COVID-19 etc.


We cannot change our past but we can change our future. It is now the perfect time to think about the future we want to live in. Our future planning and development should be able to fight against climate change, global warming, environmental degradation, biodiversity and habitat loss, lethal diseases and economic loss due to anthropogenic impacts of humans on planet earth.

For this, India and the world needs decentralisation of health facilities and "health democracy" at grassroot level to achieve SDG3 (mainly SDG3.3 ); especially at village council level.  In India, it will be a big revolutionary step after "sanitation democracy". According to the Liberal Democracy Index , which is produced by the Varieties of Democracy project at the University of Gothenburg, democratic regimes obtain higher scores. For example, in 2015, each of the 36 countries with a Liberal Democracy Index of at least 0.7 had life expectancy of at least 72 years; and conversely, all 21 countries whose life expectancy was less than 60 years had a Liberal Democracy Index under 0.55.

At village council level, in India, health democracy can be achieved through "Health Parliament or Village Health Council". Here is my suggested model in detail. Such Parliament may comprise of villagers, elected village council head, village council's secretary, school headmasters, sanitary workers, Asha, Anganwadi, Auxiliary Nurse Midwife (ANM), Doctor of the near Primary Health Center (PHC) or Community Health Center (CHC), revenue officer and representative of agriculture department. Such Parliament will work on "Awareness, Education and Campaign" (ACE) to establish a healthy society, at village council level. This Parliament will also be responsible for primary and immediate health services and transfer of serious patients to advanced hospitals for medical help.

Members of ‘Health Parliament’ will work collectively and voluntarily to encourage villagers for sanitation, better health through yoga, use of traditional Ayurvedic medicines, following social distancing, use of masks, immunization and better nourishment. This Parliament will help to ensure high "Green Governance", "Carbon Negativity", "Forest Cover", "Sustainable Development", "Household Size", "High Yielding Varieties (HYVs)", "Agriculture Mechanisation" & "Agriculture Production" & "eco-friendly society". These will help to ‘change climate change’ and fight pandemics and disasters.

Members will act as ‘Health Ambassador’ and ensure healthy life at grassroot level. Every week, members will organise a ‘health drive’ to aware people and surveys of sick people. Female members will encourage the use of ‘sanitary napkins’ by young girls and women. Doctors will look after the patients, provide the necessary medicines and cause awareness.

Members will cooperate with ANM, Anganwadi, Asha, government officials and doctors to ensure ‘Clean and Healthy Society’, and will help to bring ‘social and behaviour change’ in daily rural life in every household.

‘Health Parliament’ will help ‘Swasth Bharat Mission (Healthy India Mission)’ and District Administration to make ‘Disease Free and Healthy society’ at grassroot level. It will be a revolutionary step. Globally, this model will be helpful for making a "Healthy Society" and will help to achieve SDG3 by 2030.

The most authoritarian aspects of the Chinese political system is the main reason behind China’s failure to control the famine of 1958–1961, Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), HIV/ AIDS epidemic of 2003 and recently COVID19. But, India represents a successful, strong and biggest democratic system at global level. Democratic system of India will be helpful to make an eco-friendly, sustainable and healthy India.
Prabhat Misra
Deputy Director, National Savings, Agra Division, Agra, Uttar Pradesh, India
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  • paresh
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  • Budding WASH researcher, especially interested in governance, public policy, finance, politics and social justice. Architect, Urban & Regional planner by training, Ex. C-WAS, India. I am a patient person :)
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Re: Toilet Parliament - and Health Democracy Through Health Parliament At Grassroot Level Is The Need Of The Hour (India)

Thank you for sharing this.

I think local parliaments are an excellent way to increase participation in planning improvements of sanitation and health services. Participation of the community in developmental processes has many benefits including reduction in petty corruption, improvement in construction quality,  ensures money is spent where it is needed and increases sustainability of the service/project.  More importantly, it also deepens democracy in the society. 

I am curious to know if the toilet parliament was formulated in other villages/districts and what was response of the community. Also what measures were taken to make the parliament inclusive? 

Regards
paresh
Paresh Chhajed-Picha
Researcher at Indian Institute of Technology - Bombay, India
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