‘67% Of Nigerian Schools Still Use Pit Latrines’

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Forty two per cent of schools in the country have access to improved sanitation facilities as revealed by the 2007 school health census.

Mr Jide Dada, the Desk Officer, School Health Programme in the Ministry of Education, said this while presenting a paper titled,“ School Health Programme: The Journey So Far,’’ last Wednesday in Kaduna.

Dada presented the paper at the National Coordination Meeting of School Health stakeholders and capacity building of officers on monitoring and evaluation of the programme.

According to him, the census found that only three per cent of schools have flush toilets.

He also said that only 32 per cent of the sources of drinking water in primary and secondary schools were considered safe and that about 25 per cent had access to pipe borne water.

“Sixty seven per cent of schools have pit latrines while 27 per cent of diarrhoea cases are reported yearly,’’ he added.

Dada said that only 17 per cent of schools screened their food handlers while six per cent of schools had linkages with government-designated school clinics.

He explained that the objective of the School Health Programme was to help children at school to achieve maximum physical and mental health to enable them to obtain full benefit from their education.

The official listed the components of the programme to include school environment hygiene/sanitation, school feeding services, skill-based health education and school, home and community relationship.

Dada said school health policy was developed to answer the clarion call of several organisations which saw the need to have a framework to guide the effective implementation of the School Health Programme.

“The policy has helped to set standards; assign roles and responsibilities to all stakeholders; attract partnership and collaboration as well as put structures in place for implementation and monitoring”.

“It has helped to encourage research and knowledge sharing on school health issues, recieve support from political policy makers and secure technical assistance and logistical support from development partners,’’ he said

The official told the stakeholders that they had a vital role to play in making the programme a success.

He, therefore, urged them to be committed to the programme in their states by ensuring that adequate number of gender sensitive sanitation facilities were provided.