Hetal lives with her family in Talodara, a village within the state of Gujarat in western India. Now 25, she remembers the days before clean, indoor sanitation facilities.
Without access to these, girls and young women in villages like Hetal's would often miss school, needing to trek back home in order to use toilets. They also were susceptible to disease and malnutrition that can result from the lack of clean facilities. And they weren't alone.
About 595 million people in India – more than half of those in the country – lack access to toilets. And worldwide, says the World Health Organization, about 2.4 billion people live without basic sanitation facilities. That's nearly one-third of the global population.
To help people experiencing the same challenges as Hetal, Abbott worked with non-profit groups and village leaders to build toilets near its facility in Jhagadia, Gujarat. More than just meeting an immediate need, the company's volunteers and partners wanted to raise awareness about the importance of good hygiene – and its connections to good health – in order to drive lasting behaviour change.