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Chennai: While Tamilnadu government has been a pioneer in the sanitation sector by not only taking steps to help stopping open defecation but also prioritising the full cycle of sanitation, it has to be noted that the desludging operators are also the people who are the most exposed to fecal sludge from the septic tanks and suffering ones from exposure to harmful gases which results in ailments ranging from cardiovascular degeneration and the likes.

A health camp and survey conducted by Tamilnadu Urban Sanitation Support Programme (TNUSSP) at Narasimhanaickenpalayam Town Panchayat recently, revealed that majority of the women sanitary workers were found to be anemic.

It is also found that many of the desludging operators suffer from altered pulmonary function parameters due to their nature of occupation. It was found that most of the workers skipped their breakfast to be at work during the wee hours of the morning resulting in poor nutrition practices leading to anemia.

Alcoholism was found to be a prevalent problem among the male sanitary workers.

As the next step, TNUSSP is also looking towards institutionalising regular health screening camps for the desludging operators and sanitary workers by incorporating components like respiratory health, treatment for skin problems and vaccinations. In an effort to ensure the safety of workers, Coimbatore City Technical Support Unit (CTSU) of TNUSSP has initiated the process of holding regular health screening camps for private and government desludging operators and sanitary workers.