When the whole country was under complete lockdown, Dr Yazhini, the City Health Officer in Trichy, Tamil Nadu, prioritized the containment of the virus. The Government of Tamil Nadu has long recognised the importance of total sanitation as the key to improving health standards in the state.

Dr. Yazhini ensured that special care was taken during COVID-19 in the containment areas.

Dr. Yazhini ensured that special care was taken during COVID-19 in the containment areas. She ensured that the Community Toilets were functioning well, to control the spread of the virus, especially in low-income settlements. Another important step towards trying to contain the virus was the appropriate treatment of faecal sludge as per Dr. Yazhini “TTo do that, I was able to obtain special permits for desludging vehicles and hence, the desludging operations continued to take place regularly”, she said. This was a significant step in ensuring the safe disposal of faecal waste amidst the pandemic.

Dr. Yazhini paid special attention to waste management during the crucial periods of 2020. Her team collected PPE kits and cleaning agents from volunteers, NGOs and other welfare organisations, and ensured that they reached the workers as per requirement. She has played a crucial role in the progress achieved by the state’s Total Sanitation Mission. Sanitation facilities and treatment of waste were prioritised and taken care of with utmost efficiency.

"An essential learning on emergency response is to take complete care of the workers, ensuring their confidence and welfare and I believe it will go a long way towards ensuring sustainability", as per Dr. Yazhini.

Dr. Yazhini is proud of the safety she could provide to her team of sanitation workers who collected solid waste from every area within the city and segregated them as hazardous waste and medical waste. The medical waste were transported for treatment. PPEs were provided to sanitation workers and awareness and training were held, focusing on how to use them properly so that none of the staff got infected.

"Out of 2500 sanitation workers within the city, the rate of infection was less than 15, whose conditions were periodically analysed. Though our staff worked and volunteered during these unprecedented times, the services were never compromised", shared Dr. Yazhini.




Dr. Yazhini’s vision for 2023 is to achieve total sanitation across all cities in Tamil Nadu and eliminate insanitary toilets or complexes.

National Faecal Sludge and Septage Management Alliance

The National Faecal Sludge and Septage Management Alliance is a collaborative body, convened in 2016 and supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, working with governments and decision-makers across the country at national, state and city levels to drive safe and sustainable urban sanitation in India.

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