UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta Fore has praised Prime Minister Narendra Modi for investing time in issues such as health and sanitation. She said on Sunday that the prime minister has invested political time and effort to bring about a change in the community.
She said people start looking around at other things that need improvement when they begin to feel that their community is doing better.
“If you invest a dollar in sanitation solutions, the benefit will be four dollars in terms of health cost prevention, the (reduction in) number of visits you go to a doctor and in the medicines that you don’t have to buy,” Fore told PTI in an interview. She was in Mumbai to attend an event organised jointly by the UNICEF (United Nations Children’s Fund) and the National Stock Exchange (NSE) on Friday.
“The prime minister invested political time and effort and what it meant was people began picking up that story. They want to do it for Mahatma Gandhi, for their country and they felt pride in it,” she said in an apparent reference to “Swacch Bharat” Mission.
Modi and French President Emmanuel Macron were recently awarded the UN’s “Champions of the Earth” award for their pioneering work in championing the International Solar Alliance and promoting new areas of cooperation on environmental action.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched the cleanliness drive in 2014 with an aim to clean up streets, roads and infrastructure of India’s cities, towns, and rural areas.
Modi had said the sanitation coverage in the country has increased from 38 per cent to nearly 80 per cent and asserted that the ‘Swachh Bharat Mission’ is playing a central role in creating a healthy India.
Fore said, “It (contribution to sanitation) doesn’t have an economic return but when you begin to feel that your community is doing better, it makes you look around at the other things that need improvement”.
“It makes one think that does he have clean water and the solutions for open defecation for all animals in their village, is there a community healthcare clinic, is there enough nutrition for children; not just latrines, what about lighted pathways for all of the girls going to schools. It makes you improve your world,” said the executive director.