ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Open Defecation in Rural India, 2015–16

Levels and Trends in NFHS–4

The Government of India’s NFHS–4 offers the best new data on open defecation in rural India to be eleased in over a decade. Although open defecation has become less common than it was 10 years ago, it is still highly prevalent, with more than half of rural households reporting open defecation. On average, change has been slow, even during the period of the Swachh Bharat Mission.

Reducing open defecation is an urgent policy priority: it kills thousands of children each year, and stunts the growth and development of those who survive. As a result, the United Nations has included the elimination of open defecation globally by 2030 among its Sustainable Development Goals. The Government of India (GoI) has set an even more ambitious schedule: the Swacch Bharat Mission (SBM) aims to end open defecation by October 2019.

According to the World Health Organization and the United Nations Children’s Fund Joint Monitoring Report (2017), more than half of the open defecation that occurs anywhere in the world occurs in rural India. According to the 2011 Census, 90% of Indian households that lack a toilet or latrine are rural. Although village life is changing quickly in many respects, the census and other data sources suggest that latrine adoption is occurring slowly. This article investigates patterns of rural open defecation using the newly released National Family Health Survey–4 (NFHS–4), a large-scale nationally representative survey collected between January 2015 and November 2016. The NFHS is conducted as a collaboration between the International Institute of Population Sciences, ICF International, and the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare of the GoI.

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Updated On : 5th Mar, 2018
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