The state of Karnataka in India has 21.85 million children according to the 2011 census but a third of these children suffer from stunted growth, “This is largely because of such water borne diseases as these diseases decrease 5 per cent of body weight in growing children; and recurrence triggers malnutrition because of less food retention; lack of resilience and a higher proneness to opportunistic infections,” Dr. Premalatha, the Head of the Department of Paediatrics in the state’s premier child health care hospital, explained .
Diarrhoea, dysentery, gastroenteritis, and cholera continue to plague children from below the poverty line affecting slum children and increasing child mortality, stunted growth, and malnutrition all of which contribute to school drop-out rates, thus sustaining poverty over the next generation and also affecting lack of resilience to disease and pestilence.
The inadequacy in water and sanitation was 48.1 per cent in rural households in Karnataka in 2012, according to a study by WASH and National Sample Survey Organisation of the Government of India, and affects medical infrastructure as critical care is taken up for Dengue patients, she explained.
The deficit in water and sanitation in Karnataka manifests in 49 per cent open defecation where people go out to the outskirts to relieve themselves, and accounted for 65 per cent of recurrent diarrhoea, a water-borne disease in children below the age of five in 2013 – 14, according to a UNICEF Factsheet
World Socialism Party (India)