Tuesday 24th November 2020

Globally, 818 Mn Children Lack Handwash Facilities At Schools: UN

43% of the schools worldwide lacked basic handwashing facilities in 2019.
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Globally, 818 Mn Children Lack Handwash Facilities At Schools: UN

A recent report by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the World Health Organization (WHO) revealed the pathetic situation of the school-going children.

According to the WHO and UNICEF Joint Monitoring Programme (JMP), around 818 million children worldwide lack basic handwash facilities at their schools, putting them at high risk of COVID-19 and other infectious diseases.

Among the 818 million children,

  • 355 million went to schools which had water facility for handwashing but no soap
  • 462 million went to schools which had no water facilities for handwashing
  • More than one third (295 million) children are from sub-Saharan Africa

“In the least developed countries, 7 out of 10 schools lack basic handwashing facilities, and half of the schools lack basic sanitation and water services,” read the report.

Moreover, 43% of the schools worldwide lacked basic handwashing facilities in 2019, an essential condition for schools to operate safely during the pandemic.

World Health Organization (WHO)

In the top 60 countries at high risk of health and humanitarian crises due to COVID-19

  • 75% of children lacked basic handwashing service at their school at the start of the outbreak
  • 50% of children lacked basic water service
  • Over 50% lacked basic sanitation service

One in 3 schools worldwide had either limited drinking water service or no drinking water service at all. Around 698 million children lacked basic sanitation services at their schools.

Nepal Children Lack Handwash Facilities At Schools

“Global school closures since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic have presented an unprecedented challenge to children’s education and well-being,” exclaimed Henrietta Fore, UNICEF Executive Director.

“We must prioritize children’s learning. This means making sure that schools are safe to reopen with access to hand hygiene, clean drinking water and safe sanitation,” he added.

[Also Read: COVID-19 to Cause 4000 ‘Child Deaths’ in Nepal: UNICEF]

The report presented several resources necessary for COVID-19 prevention and control in schools, including ten immediate actions and safety checklists.

Children Lack Handwash Facilities At Schools

The guidelines include

  • Several WASH-related protocols on hygiene measures
  • Use of personal protective equipment
  • Cleaning and disinfection
  • Clean water
  • Handwashing stations with soap
  • Safe toilets

Revealing the negative impacts of prolonged school closures on children’s safety, well-being and learning, the UN bodies stressed the governments to focus on safe reopening and operation of schools during the ongoing pandemic.

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