This article analyses the water, sanitation and hygiene situation in slum households and compares it with the non-slum urban households using data from the 2011 Census. It argues for a shift from the mere water supply coverage to an emphasis on quality water distribution. Intermittent water supply coupled with poor sanitation contributes to higher health risks. Promoting point-of-use water treatment and basic hygiene practices on safe handling and storage of water are important preventive health interventions. This article advocates for a shift from availability of infrastructure to delivery of service-level outcomes.

Biraja Kabi Satapathy ( is with the Population Foundation of India, Odisha as Water and Sanitation Specialist in USAID's Health of the Urban Poor Programme.

This article was made possible by the generous support of the United States Agency for International Development. The views expressed herein are those of the author and do not necessarily refl ect the views of the Health of the Urban Poor Programme implemented by the Population Foundation of India or of USAID.

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