India unveils 2,200 ‘life-saving’ water testing laboratories | Latest India News

A digital, app-based platform for testing water quality for standard safety parameters, launched as part of the flagship Jal Jeevan mission, is now operational in 2,200 water laboratories across the country, an official said, on condition of anonymity.

Public health officials say the new facilities will help improve health outcomes, especially in children, and will also help individuals, public health engineering authorities and panchayats where water is available. drinking water has been provided, to monitor the water quality.

“Anyone can submit a sample and the contact details of the source of the running water supply will also be entered. The resulting water quality analysis reports will be put back online to the person giving the water sample and will also feed into a central database for continuous monitoring. This can prove to be life-saving in areas with high contamination, ”said the official.

The digital platform was developed with health inputs and drinking water metrics from the Indian Council for Medical Research, the official said. Samples are tested for a range of chemical, bacterial and other pathogens.

Waterborne rotaviruses cause 8,72,000 hospitalizations each year, mostly children, and around 78,000 die in India, according to estimates by the Indian Council of Medical Research.

The software platform, Monitoring and Surveillance of Drinking Water Quality, was developed by the State-run National Computer Center.

Unsanitary water is a major obstacle to the country’s public health. “Our health care focus has been geared towards child and maternal health, which is also by no means adequate. Unsafe water is a major cause of the child disease burden, ”said health economist Arup Mitra of the Institute of Economic Growth.

The country’s flagship program to provide rural households with safe drinking water by 2024, the Jal Jeevan mission, has expanded to more than 10 million households in 61 districts known to have Japanese encephalitis-encephalitis syndrome. acute, brain fever in children that needs a multi-pronged approach to tackle, according to health experts.

The Jal Jeevan mission gives priority to the supply of tap water to homes whose water quality is affected. So far, of the 27,544 homes affected by arsenic and fluoride, states have provided potable water to 26,492.

As part of the mission, local communities are also trained to lead water quality monitoring. “Residents are also being trained in water quality testing using field test kits,” said the official quoted first.

Nearly 820 million people in 12 major river basins across the country face “high to extreme” water stress. Getting to a water source is a long journey in rural India. According to a survey by the National Sample Survey Organization in Jharkhand, it takes women 40 minutes for a one-way ticket, regardless of the wait time. In Bihar, it’s 33 minutes. Rural Maharashtra takes an average of 24 minutes.

The running water mission, launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2019, aims to change that. The program has entered a critical phase, as officials rush to meet the deadline amid a disruptive second wave of Covid.

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Kristina McManus

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