The population of pre-school children (0-6 Yrs.), as recorded in Census-2001, was 5.35 Million, which constituted 14.5 percent of the total population. Recognising the report of child tracking survey undertaken by Orissa Primary Education Programme Authority (OPEPA) that presently there are 4.13 Million children in Orissa in the 0-5 years aged group, of which 2.13 million are boys and 2.0 million are girls.


Miles to Go for Achieving Health of Public Standard. Human beings are the pivots around which all kinds of development revolve. They are entitled to be healthy and have prolonged life. “Health is wealth” is a primordial saying. It is true even today. Health of the people can be accomplished through public health measures. Public health is both a science and art of preventing diseases, promoting health and caring of mental or moral health through efficient health care systems and organised community efforts.

The right to health is clearly spelt out in various international human rights law. It is explicit in Article-25 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in 1948. As enshrined in first paragraph of Article-25, “everyone has a right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services”. Article-12 of the international Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights formulates the right to health in the words of “the State Parties of the Covenant recognise the right of everyone to the enjoyment of physical and mental health”. 

The United Nations Convention on the Right of the Child, 1989 has given impetus to the child rights’ to health by entrusting responsibilities on the State Parties to provide highest standards of health facilities. Further, it is obligatory for the State Parties to ensure that no child is deprived of his or her right of access to such health care services. According to the Constitution of World Health Organisation (WHO), “health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity”. This definition has given a broad conceptual clarity of the term ‘health’ and in practice, it puts obligation on the State Parties to give adequate importance and respect for securing people’s rights to health.


Water is a basic physiological necessity of human beings. Thus access to safe and non-polluted drinking water is a potential measure of preventive health care  because most of the diseases such as gastroenteritis, diarrhoea, dysentery, enteric fever etc. are water-borne and prevail due to the consumption of contaminated water. Supply of safe drinking water, free from microbial or chemical contaminations, in adequate quantities to all has to be recognised as a desirable minimum need of every human being. 


In order to supply drinking water a number of schemes like Accelerated Rural Water Supply Programmes (ARWSP), Swajaldhra etc. are being implemented in the rural areas of Orissa. As per Government’ Report, out of total 136399 identified habitations in the State, 124127 habitations have been fully covered under drinking water supply programme at the end of March 2004. These habitations have been provided 2, 27,277 tube-wells, 7,079 sanitary wells and 121 spring based water supply projects. 79% of the total Urban Populations is being supplied Pipe water through 1, 73,752 number of house connection and 17,183 public water supply stands. Of late, huge publicinvestments have been made in providing drinking water to majority of the populations in India. But still there is mismatch between spending and outcomes. 

However, neither the Census data nor any other information speak of how many hand pumps, tube-wells are dysfunctional. This does not indicate the ratio between the number of safe drinking water facilities and number of users. We do not know how many people, particularly villagers; depend on river, canal and other sources of unsafe drinking water. Thus, all the available data provides incomplete picture for an objective assessment of the drinking water problems being faced by millions population.

According to the report of District Level Survey and Facility Survey (2002-04) on RCH; IIPS, that in Orissa 25.6% of household having drinking water facility either from piped or hand pump as against corresponding figure of 88.5% in India. 


The high incidence of IMR and Under-5 Mortality in the State are the potential indicators of poor quality health care system. Among the underlying causes of child morbidity and mortality, diarrhoea, gastroenteritis, anaemia and jaundice together accounted 35.4%. This could be attributed to the non-availability of safe  drinking water and poor sanitation facilities and practices. The NFHS-2 indicates that only 10.9% of the households in Odisha have used flush toilets.

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