Imagine not taking a bath in this hot and sultry summer. But 37% Amdavadis have been doing just that. They do not bathe daily, says a survey conducted by the National Integrated Medical Association (NIMA). All this thanks to the lack of awareness about the health-related aspects of having a bath, scarcity of water and not enough bathrooms.
According to the report, 66% of those who do not take a bath daily reportedly contract flu, fever, diarrhoea or eye infections at least once every month.
“Most people have inadequate knowledge about the evident link between bath and the health of people. Rather than buying an anti-bacterial soap, individuals normally consider the cost of it,” said Hasmukh Vidhya, president of NIMA, Ahmedabad branch.
“In Ahmedabad, when the temperature rises to 46 degree Celsius, only a minimal, 21% residents, take a bath at night before retiring. As a result, rather than buying an anti-bacterial soap, individuals normally consider the cost of it,” added Vidhya.
People, who avoid taking bath, usually suffer from respiratory problems, allergy, eczema and various other diseases, including infections in internal organs.
Along with the lack of awareness or the desire to remain hygienic, water scarcity is one of the main reasons why individuals avoid bathing. “In suburbs, where there is acute scarcity of water, how can people take bath when they do not have water to drink?” wondered Vidhya.
Besides, a few human rights activists pointed out that many residents do not get a chance to have a bath due to the inadequate number of bathrooms. According to the 2011 Census, over 1.99 lakh households in Ahmedabad defecate in the open, which is more than 13% of the total households in the district.
“In slums, where there are no closed bathrooms, women skip bathing as they cannot do so in the open,” said Smita Bajpai of Chaitra, an NGO working for the betterment of women in rural areas.
“One should concentrate on people’s needs. Adequate number of bathrooms should be created. People should be provided with sufficient supply of pipeline water round the clock,” she added.
To understand the bathing pattern in India and how it affects their health, the survey was conducted among 600 individuals, including married people and children in the age group of 8 to14-year olds.