Cultural Attitudes & Public Health

The Economist reports that 130m households in rural India lack toilets. Princeton economist Diane Coffey conducted a survey of nearly 23,000 north Indians which finds that over 40% had “at least one family member preferred to defecate in the open.” Sanitation issues give rise to a broader public health policy matters, such as creating funding to build toilets and how to best educate the public in order to change habits. There are cultural, religious and class issues with changing sanitation norms, as some groups believe that going outdoors is more natural, even though it leads to infections.

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