Each of Water, Access. Sanitation, and Hygiene can be a thematic area, they are often clubbed together owing to their interdependent nature, jointly referred to as WASH. And since our work on leprosy, tuberculosis (TB) and NTDs hinges on hygiene, WASH is a cross-cutting theme across all project areas. Further, in our all-disaster relief work also has WASH as a theme.
One such example is the flood relief work in Assam in 2018.
As the floodwater in Assam receded, it left behind debris, contaminated water, choked tube-wells and over-flowing toilets. A successful rehabilitation depended on hygiene, water provision, and sanitation facilities. Outbreak of diseases due to lack of these would pull back any rehabilitation effort.
We worked towards securing sanitation facilities on raised ground, provision of mosquito nets, and clean drinking water before setting out for groundwork. Though inclusion of WASH in a livelihood project in post-flood relief work called for greater resources and extended timelines, the end results were found to be more robust and in line with the larger goals of sustainable development.
WASH cuts across all other thematic areas: successful prevention of tuberculosis (TB) and leprosy, and management of filariasis hinges strongly on maintenance of personal hygiene. The home-based care for patients of filariasis prescribes maintaining personal hygiene, especially of the affected leg. Since the enlarged limb poses a problem to the patient in doing the same, our health-workers provide care and cleaning of lesions on the affected limb. This prevents frequent filarial attacks that the patients otherwise suffer.