New Delhi: As much as 43 per cent of Indians have gained access to basic sanitation, while the practice of open defecation decreased by 47 per cent in the country between 2000 and 2017, says a WHO/UNICEF Joint Monitoring Programme (JMP) report.
"Since 2000, one-third of the population of Nepal and Lao People's Democratic Republic, over half of the population of Cambodia and Ethiopia, and nearly half of the population of India have stopped practicing open defecation," the report reads.
The report says that the stated facts not only indicate a significant reduction in inequality in these countries but also point to a transformational shift in social norms and public health.
"Between 2000 and 2017, 91 countries reduced open defecation by a combined total of 696 million people, with Central and Southern Asia accounting for three-quarters of this reduction," the report adds.
An estimated 2.1 billion people around the world gained access to basic sanitation. "Nearly three out of four people gaining access during this period lived in Central and South Asia (807 million) and in Eastern and South-Eastern Asia (698 million)," says the report.