One in three schools worldwide lacks basic sanitation facilities

A new report by UNESCO, UNICEF and WFP reveals that while investments in school health and nutrition are having a significant impact on student achievement, one in three schools worldwide still lacks no access to drinking water and basic sanitation facilities.

Quoted in a press release, the Director-General of UNESCO, Audrey Azoulay, “students learn better in safe and healthy schools. However, many schools still lack services for the good health and well-being of their students, including access to drinking water and basic sanitation facilities.

“UNESCO and its partners call on the international community to support countries to invest in school-based health, nutrition and social protection, because children deserve an environment that allows them to reach their full potential,” he said. -she says.

According to the report “Learning and Thriving: Global School Health and Nutrition”, the presence of health and nutrition services in schools encourages children to come and stay.

Investments in school health and nutrition

School meals alone increase school enrollment and attendance by 9% and 8% respectively.

School feeding programs generate $9 for every $1 invested. School mental health programs can generate up to $21.5 for every dollar invested

“Where anemia and parasitic infections are rife, the administration of deworming treatments and micronutrient supplements can allow students to stay in school for an additional 2.5 years,” the report from the UN agencies points out.

The study also addresses other issues such as the promotion of eye care, mental health and well-being of children as well as the prevention of violence in schools.

Beyond improving the daily lives and study conditions of children, the report stresses that “all these measures result in a significant return on investment for countries”.

Like school feeding programs, which generate $9 for every $1 invested, or school mental health programs that can generate up to $21.5 for every $1 invested.

Insufficient and unequal investment

While 9 out of 10 countries in the world are developing school health and nutrition actions, the investments differ from one region to another and are most often insufficient in relation to needs.

Stronger commitment from national governments and stronger support from the international community are essential.

Globally, only $2 billion a year is invested in these areas in low and lower middle income countries, for a total of $210 billion devoted to education.

Currently, nearly one in three schools (31%) has neither drinking water nor basic sanitation facilities. This means that nearly 584 million children have limited or non-existent access to drinking water in schools, among them 2 out of 5 children live in sub-Saharan Africa. Also, while almost all countries in the world provide school meals, an estimated 73 million of the most vulnerable children remain excluded on the ground.

Concrete and affordable solutions

UNESCO, UNICEF and WFP call on the international community, countries and their partners to intensify their efforts to protect and promote the physical and mental health, nutrition, well-being and development of all learners.

All stakeholders are urged to focus on key interventions tailored to local contexts and needs, including: Provision of school meals, vaccinations, antiparasitic treatments, psychosocial support, health education that enables children to lead healthy living, and more generally the development of safe and inclusive learning environments that promote health and well-being.

Previous Post Next Post