Water & Sanitation

What is WASH?

The term WASH is used as shorthand for a vast array of infrastructure, behavioural and policy interventions implemented to increase the access to and use of water supply and sanitation services. The term is usually applied to households and public settings such as schools and healthcare facilities in low-income contexts where access to these services remains challenging due to poverty, inequality, lack of public funds, and physical and geographic conditions. 

India has made rapid progress in ending open defecation across the country, which significantly impacts improving water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH). n 2015, nearly half of India’s population of around 568 million people suffered the indignity of defecating in fields, forests, bodies of water, or other public spaces due to a lack of access to toilets. India alone accounted for 90 per cent of the people in South Asia and half of the 1.2 billion people in the world that defecated in the open. 

WASH mainly refers to: 

  • Water: Supplies for drinking and other domestic purposes such as cooking and laundry, and improvements to drinking water quality through water treatment. It tends to exclude water for productive purposes such as agriculture or energy. 

  • Sanitation: Access to and use of facilities and services for the safe disposal of human excreta. It is sometimes, although not usually, extended to refer to other waste aspects such as household solid waste. The term applies to the entire ‘chain’ of services related to excreta disposal from toilet capture and containment through emptying, transport, treatment and final disposal or end use. 

  • Hygiene: while the term usually refers to conditions and practices to maintain health and prevent disease, in WASH, hygiene focuses on personal cleanliness, often narrowly on hand washing with soap at critical times such as after toilet use and before cooking or eating. 

These various aspects, separately and as a whole, play a vital role in protecting population health, since inadequate services lead to the spread of harmful pathogens. The most recognised role of WASH for public health is the prevention of infectious diseases, such as diarrhoeal diseases, neglected tropical diseases (see below), vector-borne diseases, and further health consequences such as malnutrition. However, the impact of inadequate WASH on human wellbeing extends to broader aspects such as perpetuating the vicious cycle of disease and poverty, harming educational attainment, and deepening gender and social inequalities. 

WASH and the Neglected Tropical Diseases

The control and elimination of NTDs require a broad set of actions and interventions, including behavior change, environmental improvement measures, social inclusion efforts, and treatment and care services – jointly referred to as the BEST Framework. WASH plays a key role in each of these components: 

  • Behavior: toilet use and maintenance, handwashing, personal hygiene, and food hygiene; 

  • Environment: construction of safe sanitation systems, water management for vector control, waste disposal (including animal waste); 

  • Social inclusion: prevention of stigma in access to WASH services of people with NTDs; WASH for reducing the severity of symptoms likely to result in exclusion; and 

  • Treatment and care: water supply, sanitation, and hygiene in healthcare settings and at home for self-care and rehabilitation of affected individuals. 

More Activities from Suryachandra foundation


We adopted forests in Telangana & Andhra Pradesh also planted many plants and water harvesting activites with our team

Rural Development

Providing quality education for underprivileged rural children, a unique approach to education through innovative programs and technology.

Waste Mangement

The Mantra of SCF to Reuse, Recycle, and Reduce is at the heart of any kind towards the sustainable development of mankind.