Many may take pride for the country's economic growth, but India's record on essentials like hygiene remains poor.
According to the latest Global Hygiene Home Truths Study 2010, conducted across eight countries, India has topped most of the categories that reveal high contamination levels.
Overall, compared to world, 70 per cent dirt level- presence of bacteria, viral and fungal mould, a newly added category- found in bathrooms seals, India notched up a figure of 95 per cent. Dirt levels of refrigerators for world stood at 46 per cent, while India registered 70 per cent. Kitchen table dirt levels for world were 36 per cent compared to 75 per cent for India.
In measuring the dirt level of kettle handles the world figure was 22 per cent against India's 50 per cent. Diseases are spread through contact, air borne, vector borne and ingestion.
The study was carried out to ascertain the hygiene level of a country and provide realistic measures. The importance of hygiene with regards to health can be gauged by the fact that 60 per cent of all diseases is related to hygiene, a top Global Hygiene Council representative said here today.
''The main causes of diseases in India-gastro intestinal, repiratory diseases, skin infection, food poisoning and allergies- are all connected to poor hygiene. The fact that objects and appliances look clean is no proof that they actually are hygienic, that is there are no infective organisms,'' representative for Global Hygiene Council for India, Dr Narendra Saini said today.
According to the report, everyday items- from kitchen towels to computer keyboards and mice are breeding grounds for dangerous dirt.
In India, 100 percent of kitchen towels were found to be heavily contaminated. 37 per cent of toys in India were found to be contaminated. The study also showed only 10 per cent of Indians thought home could be a source of infection.
''Paramount to hygiene is awareness. Small precautions and good habits like washing hands the proper way and maintaining the refrigerator temperature between two-eight degrees Celsius help in preventing contamination. 2010 theme-' Breaking the chain of Infection' follows our 'Hand Hygiene' (2009) and 'Hygiene in Home' (2008) themes. Everybody from school children, mothers and housewives to media and politicians can play a role in promoting hygiene,'' he said.
The Council is also disseminating information like the lenght of time viruses can survive outside a body (upto 48 hours), conditions conducive for fungal growth (temperature, humidity, lack of sunlight), importance of using right disinfectents and methods.
The Council is set to conduct a Nosocomial infections study (hospital acquired infection) which account for five-seven per cent of infections globally.