Swachh Bharat:declare“open defecation free zone”only if free of infectious dog,animal poop

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It is about missing key component TOWARDS A SWACHH BHARAT. I truly admire and applaud Mr Narender Modi, Hon’able Prime Minister for drawing attention of 100 billion people to the issue of cleanliness outside their homes. No one had ever thought that a Prime minister would refer to this so called trivial issue and make a heartfelt appeal to people. Lot of public interest has now been generated and there is a race among public officials to get their area declared as free from open defecation. Even celebrities and movie actors like Amitabh Bachchan, Akshay Kumar have backed this cause. All these efforts are really appreciable, but the main credit still goes to Modiji who spearheaded this movement.

But there is still a serious issue, which is a stumbling block to the realization of a ‘Swachh Bharat’ dream and remains unattended. I want to draw attention of everyone towards the problem of animal poo in our country. It is all around us. It is an obstacle to fulfillment of Swachh Bharat Abhiyaan and a pan-Indian problem. It is actually even a bigger health problem than open defecation by humans. Humans defecate in country side and in open fields. But stray animals and dogs are everywhere. Even pet dogs defecate on roads, parks, in residential areas and wherever they like . Owner of pet dogs make them defecate outside their own houses and on the roads and wherever their dogs chooses. This poop, besides causing disgust, when dried and mixed with dust, acts a source of infection to the community.

Life threatening infections : As a doctor, I would like to bring to your notice that dog’s and animal feces is a big health hazard. It is even worse than a dog bite since it spreads infection in entire community. A dog's digestive system can handle just about anything that it eats and this makes its poop very toxic. Animal feces contain pathogens, which are known to cause severe diseases, infections and organ failure. These heavy loads of bacteria increase the risk of infections in the community. But pregnant women, children and people with suppressed immune systems may are more prone to these infections Healthy animals too can harbor human enteric pathogens. Many diseases may be spread by millions of these dogs and other animals like pigs, cattle as their feces contain parasites, bacteria and viruses. These include life threatening bacterial infections by E. coli, MRSA, Leptospira, Salmonellosis, Campylobacteriosis, brucellosis, Rickettsia and parasitic infections like Giardiasis, Whipworm, Hookworm, Roundworms, Tapeworms, Cryptosporidiosis, Echinococcosis, Leishmaniasis etc. Viral infections like rabies, influenza and other viruses may also spread through these animals.

Environmental health hazard: Stormwater runoff due to extensive rainfall can wash off all these droppings into drains, many of which are connected to river systems and water sources in our country. This can lead to a widespread source of waterborne illnesses. Dry poop on the roads is mixed with dust particles and in the air. So everyone is living in a highly infectious environment. This may be an important cause of high rates of community acquired infections among our population.

Transform health of the country: A system has to be developed and hence it should be mandatory that all the dog and animal (stray or pet) droppings are properly collected and disposed off. This single step can do wonders as it will reduce infections, people’s suffering and eventually reduce use of antibiotics. It can help reduce mortality, morbidity, drug resistance and medical costs by preventing many infections. It is my request to highest authorities to create awareness, form policies about disposal and control of animal waste and implement them strictly to bring a turnaround in infection rates in our country.

It is missing key component TOWARDS A SWACHH BHARAT. My request is to create awareness and form proper policies through higher authorities to prevent and reduce millions of infections in whole country.