Strengthening sanitation at schools in Khomas Region

WINDHOEK In support of the efforts by the Khomas School Health Task Force, the Ministry of Education, Art and Culture recently received 240 bucket taps and five-litre containers of hygiene soap to promote sanitation at schools to minimise and prevent diseases such as Cholera and Hepatitis.

The items received from the United Nations Children's Fund

(UNICEF) in Windhoek will be used by learners, teachers or individual for handwashing especially after using the toilet, as well as before and after preparing, cooking or eating food within the schools in Khomas Region.

The soap and equipment handed over to the Ministry of Education, Arts and Culture will be handed over to 20 schools which have been identified in Greenwel Matongo, Goreangab, Havana and Wanaheda and are part of the contribution of UNICEF to the Government's active efforts to contain the recent Cholera and Hepatitis outbreak and to avert future outbreaks that have in the past caused unnecessary illness and tragic loss of lives.

Katrina Hanse-Himarwa, the Minister of Education, Arts and Culture attended the ceremony.

With the provision of the soap and equipment, the minister said the schools can ensure that every child is able to wash their hands with soap under clean running water, especially after using the toilet and before having their meals and that this is a simple practice that can go a long way in reducing the spread of diseases such as Hepatitis and Cholera in schools.

She agreed that promoting handwashing is a simple and affordable way to prevent the spread of these faecal-oral diseases.

Without the supply of basic hygienic sanitation items it would not be possible to prevent or reduce the impact of diseases and thousands of learners would be at risk of infection at school, the minister said

These supplies were procured as part of the ongoing partnership between UNICEF and United States Agency for International Development (USAID), which is supporting government's actions to promote access to safe water and to help those schools that still have limited sanitation coverage. As custodians of education and healthcare in Namibia, the Ministry of Education, Arts and Culture with Health and Social Services have introduced many progressive policies towards achieving a safe and healthy schooling environment for all children in Namibia, said the Minister.

According to the minister, Namibia was one of the pioneers in school health in Africa as it introduced its first school health service in 1972. Since then, a number of milestones have been achieved in ensuring that learners learn in a healthy and safe enabling environment, but a lot more remains to be done. This cannot be done alone. Partnership is the key to success, and this goes hand in hand with regional and local ownership.

Meanwhile, the Minister of Health and Social Services, Dr. Bernard Haufiku acknowledged the value of UNICEF's donation which will help to further promote healthy behaviours and habits for best conditions of leaners, teachers and all within the school environment.

Source: New Era Newspaper Namibia