A Lasting Change

Working to improve sanitation and hygiene for millions in India

Sustainability|May.11, 2017

Hetal lives with her family in Talodara, a village within the state of Gujarat in western India. Now 25, she remembers the days before clean, indoor sanitation facilities.

Without access to these, girls and young women in villages like Hetal's would often miss school, needing to trek back home in order to use toilets. They also were susceptible to disease and malnutrition that can result from the lack of clean facilities. And they weren't alone.

About 595 million people in India – more than half of those in the country – lack access to toilets. And worldwide, says the World Health Organization, about 2.4 billion people live without basic sanitation facilities. That's nearly one-third of the global population.

To help people experiencing the same challenges as Hetal, Abbott worked with non-profit groups and village leaders to build toilets near its facility in Jhagadia, Gujarat. More than just meeting an immediate need, the company's volunteers and partners wanted to raise awareness about the importance of good hygiene – and its connections to good health – in order to drive lasting behaviour change.

A Lasting Change

"They asked us to wash our hands before eating, cut our nails and always use toilets at the workshop in school. I came home and told my family what I learned at the workshop." 
–Drushitaben Sanjaybhai Patel, 9, from the village of Dadheda

As part of its work in Talodara and Dadheda, Abbott reached more than 3,100 villagers with education on hygiene and toilet maintenance and constructed toilets in every home (more than 500 total), as well as seven community toilets. For these women and girls, safe access to sanitation facilities also means access to increased opportunities – including those that come from staying in school. It’s one important way of helping them live their best, healthiest lives.

Learn more about Abbott's work to improve sanitation and hygiene in India at Abbott.com.