India At High COVID-19 Risk As 50 Million Indians Lack Access to Handwashing

HYDERABAD: Even though handwashing between frequent intervals of time is one of the measures for preventing the spread of COVID-19 virus, a study reveals that more than 50 million people across India do not have access to effective handwashing, which becomes a major cause of concern, by putting their health under high risk with likely high possibility of getting infected with novel coronavirus and further transmitting to others.

According to a study by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) of Washington in the US, researchers found that in countries like India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, China, Nigeria, Ethiopia, Indonesia and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, more than 50 million population in each of these countries doesn't have handwashing access.

Added to that, over two billion people in low and middle-income nations don't have access to soap and clean water and has a greater risk of getting infected and further transmitting the virus to others. Even the survey said that over half of people in 46 countries don't have access to soap and water and more than 50 per cent of the people in sub-Saharan Africa and Oceania lacked access to effective handwashing.

The survey suggests that providing a temporary solution to this problem such as sanitiser or water trucks doesn't have much use but implementing long-term solutions is needed to get protected against the novel coronavirus, said Michael Brauer, IHME professor. He said that more than 7,00,000 people are losing their lives each year due to poor handwashing access.

Around 25 per cent of the world’s population doesn't have access to proper handwashing, but there has been an improvement in handwashing access in many countries between 1990 and 2019 and those countries include Saudi Arabia, Nepal, Morocco and Tanzania, said Brauer.

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