The school environment is an integral part of the social component of the school child’s entire environment and has an important role to play in the overall development status of the child. Most childhood illnesses like measles, malaria, diarrhea diseases, malnutrition, etc are directly linked to filthy environmental conditions. Prevalence of injuries and accidents in children are also linked to hazardous conditions in the school environment. A healthy conducive school environment promotes learning and academic excellence by preventing school absenteeism due to illnesses and thus helps the school child to benefit maximally from educational programmes.
Environmental Sanitation in schools is generally poor as most schools lack potable water and adequate waste disposal facilities. Most schools are poorly lit, overcrowded without proper ventilation and are sited in areas that are noisy and hazardous due to road and human traffic. School buildings especially the public ones are often dilapidated, mouldy, and are usually in unkempt environment overgrown with weeds. Many food vendors who provide meals and snacks for school children are often unregistered and without proper medical certificate of fitness and the meals and snacks they provide may also be unwholesome.
In a recent situation analysis conducted by HABRIN in selected primary Schools Abaji, a rural community within the federal capital territory (FCT), Abuja. There are 75 primary school in Abaji out of which we visited 14, our findings showed that the schools lacks basic sanitary facilities. In some instances they have no water supply at all, no waste disposal materials and hand-washing facilities. While in some cases, no physical latrine, school children defecate and urinate behind the class room or goes to the bush while some go home and will not return till the following day. Under these conditions schools become unsafe places where diseases are transmitted with mutually reinforcing negative impacts for the children, their families and overall development.
In a similar, statistics have it that 37 percent of young girls miss out of school every month because they cannot the menstrual hygiene management materials that they need.
The provision of safe water and sanitation facilities is a first step towards a healthy physical learning environment couple with friendly environmental educational programs which our organization, HABRIN, is here to help.