In Tanzania, access to clean, safe water and sanitation in schools and health facilities is declining. Hygiene practices are inadequate and there is insufficient coordination, emergency preparedness and response capacity.
School children are particularly being affected and exposed to unsafe water, hygiene and sanitation and according to Raleigh Tanzania (2017) there is about 84% of schools lacking functional hand washing facilities.(Photo courtesy of pixabay).
There are millions of children around the world who do not have access to clean water or decent toilets in schools; this especially puts young girls and adolescents girls in danger. Around 900 million cannot wash their hands properly (The Guardian, 2010).
According to World Health Organization and UNICEF it points out that 620 million children do not have decent toilets. Lack of decent hygiene facilities discourages pupils particularly girls from attending school and completing their education.
For adolescent girls, being able to change and dispose of sanitary pads and wash their hands in a single sex space is crucial in encouraging them to attend school. Some end up missing school or not going at all especially during their menstrual cycle from shame and embarrassment.
(Photo courtesy of pixabay).
Unclean toilets can also cause girls to get urinary tract infections (UTI’s) and other diseases like diarrhea and cholera are all related to unsafe water, sanitation and hygiene. Water is a basic right and also an important life necessity.
Women in rural areas spend an average 125 million hours a day collecting water by walking long distances from their homes and while carrying the water containers on their head.
Lack of adequate water and sanitation affects girls more than boys as this can make girls vulnerable and face sexual violence as they go collect their water or use latrines.
I see this whenever I travel to Bukoba to see my relatives, most women who I have interviewed have to make difficult choices: Will I use this water to wash my children’s clothes, or to water my garden or drink? Then they have to face the fear of making the right choice, what if I make the wrong choice? What will I do?
Tai Tanzania we see the importance of clean water, sanitation and hygiene, so we raise awareness and educate adolescents on sexual reproductive health so that the adolescents can reach their full potential.
(Photo courtesy of Tai Studio).
More awareness and education needs to be made on water, sanitation and hygiene in schools in Tanzania. It is important that schools hire cleaners to keep and clean the toilets. Therefore to improve child health and prevent the spread of disease, short term school-based health and nutrition services such as de-worming and nutrient supplements have to go hand in hand with improvements in water, sanitation facilities and hygiene education.