School without potable water
· Alarm sounded by Unicef and the World Health Organization over the conditions of more than a half billion children ·
More than half a billion children attend schools that have no potable water, and more than 600 million have no access to clean bathrooms. A report signed by Unicef and the World Health Organization (WHO) was presented yesterday at the World Water Week symposium, which is taking place from 26 until 31 August in Stockholm, Sweden.
Diarrhea caused by unclean water and lack of bathroom facilities cause death for a child under five years of age every two minutes. The report, entitled, Drinking Water, Sanitation and Hygiene in Schools: Global baseline report 2018, highlights the fact that on a global scale, 31% of schools do not have access to clean water, which means that it is not available to 570 million children. In 34% of schools attended by 620 million young persons, there are no bathrooms or the ones that are there do not work. In nearly one out of every two schools (47%, meaning for approximately 900 million children) there are no hygiene products, such as soap. According to statistics, a third of elementary schools do not make clean water and bathrooms available to students, as compared to a fourth of secondary schools. The situation is the most serious in the less-developed countries, where about half of children have neither clean drinking water nor health or hygiene services available at their schools. The most serious impact is on primary and elementary schools, thus affecting the smallest and most vulnerable.
“If education is the key to helping children escape poverty, access to water and sanitation is key to helping children safely maximize their education”. With these words, Kelly Ann Naylor, UNICEF’s Global Chief of Water, Sanitation and Hygiene, speaking at the water convention in Stockholm, emphasized that “To neglect this is to be careless with the wellbeing and health of children”.
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