An assessment of sanitation and hygiene in primary schools in Zambia

2018-02-12T15:07:50Z (GMT) by Peter Harvey Edwin Adenya
Access to sanitation in primary schools in Zambia is woefully inadequate, especially in community schools. Through analysis of national Ministry of Education data and a survey of schools in 16 districts an assessment of sanitation and hygiene in primary schools was undertaken. This revealed that while almost all schools have some type of sanitation facility, just over one third have permanent toilets and less than 10% of schools provide adequate numbers of toilets for girls. While lack of sanitation facilities may play a role in discouraging the attendance and retention of girl students no correlation was found between pupiltoilet ratios and school retention rates. However, for schools with unimproved traditional latrines retention rates were significantly lower than for those with improved sanitation facilities, especially for girls. While hygiene education programmes were present in most of the sample schools, only 45% of schools had soap for handwashing and the impact on hygiene behaviour in the school catchment areas appeared to be limited. There is a strong need to incorporate sanitation in the Ministry of Education’s infrastructure development plans.