A Healthy Start

A Healthy Start is a small step towards a healthy India.
The CSR project of Indraprastha Apollo Hospitals addresses that the drinking water, sanitation and hygiene needs of under-privileged school children in MCD and government schools in Badarpur, an urban village near the hospital is not adequate.
These schools often have poor water and sanitation facilities. Water borne diseases are common that leads to malnutrition, poor physical and mental development. The project aims to improve sanitation, give access to clean drinking water and make children aware about their hygiene to ensure a healthy development. The project now covers close to 25000 students in all six schools.
The inspiration for “A Healthy Start” is the national government’s campaign Swachh Bharat Abhiyaan.

Background
Diarrhoea among children is a serious concern in India - one lakh children in the country die every year due to diarrhea (Lancet 2013).The diarrhoeal morbidity among children contributes to malnutrition and under-development among children in their crucial growth years.
Lack of clean drinking water, poor sanitation and hygiene are recognized as the most significant contributing factors to diarrhoeal disease, childhood malnutrition and stunting.
Recent data seems to corroborate earlier research on malnutrition in India that highlighted: the absence of sanitation is leading to the rampant spread of diseases. In the absence of sanitation facilities, children face a hostile environment and frequently fall prey to common infectious diseases which reduce their ability to absorb nutrients and grow.
In order to address the absence of sanitation facilities among underprivileged children, Indraprastha Apollo Hospital’s Corporate Social Responsibility project was initiated in 2014 and called A Healthy Start, the project aimed at reaching out to school children from socio-economically under-privileged families, addressing to their safe drinking water, sanitation and hygiene needs in the school.

Objective
The CSR project A Healthy Start aims at improvising access to sanitation, clean drinking water and hygiene awareness for underprivileged school children.
Project goals for six schools that are keeping up with the national campaign ‘Clean India: Clean Schools.’ It defines Watsan in schools as “a combination of technical and human development components that are necessary to produce a healthy school environment and to develop or support appropriate health and hygiene behaviours.”

Project Activities

  • Construction and up gradation of 64 girls and boys toilets in 6 schools (4 Delhi Government and 2 Municipal Corporation of Delhi Schools).
  • Employing housekeepers to clean toilets in schools to address maintenance of toilets.
  • Health and hygiene awareness program for school children.
  • Providing hand washing facilities in the schools.
  • Installing water purification systems and coolers.

The project started out in 2014 in Municipal Corporation of Delhi primary schools in Badarpur, an area proximate to the hospital.The two MCD schools under the CSR Project have close to 2500 students. Indraprastha Apollo Hospitals provided infrastructure for clean drinking water, constructed toilets, and hand wash stations to ensure hygiene in the schools.
From 2015, the scope of work expanded to Delhi Government Senior Secondary Schools near the hospital.

  • Toilet construction and renovation was also taken up in four Delhi Government Senior Secondary Schools near the hospital in 2015-16.
  • Urinals for boys were constructed.
  • Separate hand wash stations were also constructed.
  • Close to 25,000 children in Delhi government and MCD schools under the project are now availing of the benefits of new toilet blocks and hand wash stations.
  • Awareness programs for children on hygiene and good health are being conducted by the Indraprastha Apollo Hospitals team.

Enabling a positive eco-system for promoting optimum hygiene behaviour
Under A Healthy Start, in addition to sanitation infrastructure up gradation and construction, creative non-competitive events for fostering an interest in sanitation and hygiene among underprivileged school children were organised. Through these, children let their creativity run free on the theme of sanitation and hygiene with equipment and refreshments provided by the hospital.