Water access and sanitation shape birth outcomes and earning potential

Kolkata, Nov 12 (IANS/Mongbay): Spending more time per day fetching water increased Indian women’s risk of delivering a low birth-weight baby, a study has said.
The present study contributes to the limited evidence related to environmental causes of PTB and LBW by demonstrating that lack of household WASH infrastructure and social factors, like crime and harassment of women and girls, are risk factors for adverse birth outcomes in women in low- and middle-income countries, the researchers write.
The survey asked women about their drinking water source, walking time to that source, time spent fetching water, sanitation (toilet) access, harassment of women and girls and local crime among other queries.
Gendered roles of water usage In November, India restructured its National Rural Drinking Water Programme with a goal to reach 90 percent of rural households with piped water by 2022.
Despite women’s significant role in water use and household management, their needs and uses of water are not often represented in water resource management policies or projects, according to a 2017 study co-authored by Maheshwari which looked at the gendered roles and responsibilities of water usage and collection in two watersheds of rural India.
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