Assessment on utilization of sanitation facilities in Primary schools in Ndhiwa division, Ndhiwa district, Kenya
MASAKU, Naomi Ndanu
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The provtsion of safe water and sanitation in schools is fundamental to realizing national commitments on "basic education for all" by the year 2015. Children with poor health have deprived learning ability and this influences their prospects in life. A study by Protos (2005), for instance, shows that children with worm infections have higher school absenteeism than noninfected children. Ideally, this means that children with worm infections spend less time in school and are disadvantaged in the learning process. Therefore, friendly and healthy environment play significant elements in learning process of the child and lead to increased school attendance and eventually better performance. The introduction of Free Primary School Education by the Government of Kenya (GOK) in 2003 created larger impact and positive result in terms of access to basic education among Kenyans. However, it led to an influx of children into schools worsening an already appalling school water and sanitation situation. Most schools do not have a provision for separate toilet facility for specific classes; the very young shares facilities with older pupils. Floors in most sanitation facilities in primary schools are poorly maintained, wet and dirty while walls are smeared with feaces. Other considerations including privacy, proximity to the other facilities, and access for the physically handicapped and waste disposal are not considered, thus schools fails to provide an enabling environment to pupils. The overall purpose of this study was to assess utilization of sanitation facilities in Primary school in Ndhiwa Division with specific emphasis on identifying the suitability and effectiveness of the different kinds of sanitation facilities available in the selected Primary schools. The research was guided by the social Exclusion theory by Raul Prebisch .It was conducted in Ndhiwa Division, Ndhiwa District, Homabay County, which has a total of 30 primary schools, 26 public and 4 private with an average of 8,900 pupils. Information was gathered through both primary and secondary sources. Secondary sources involved the review or relevant information on utilization of sanitation facilities. The primary information was gathered by use of semi structured questionnaires, focus group discussions, key informant interviews and observation. The categories of respondents focused on were the head teachers, pupils, School Management committee (SMC) and the Public Health Officer (PHO). The findings of the study showed that there is inadequate coverage of sanitation facilities in the schools in the whole Division, with considerable congestion for students trying to access school latrine in most of the sampled schools which leads to unhygienic conditions and greatly increases the risk of cross contamination and infection. It was also evident that the few sanitation facilities were poorly utilized with major reason being attributed to poor cleanliness of the available sanitation facilities. Therefore there is need to develop sanitation programs under which the challenges should be tackled right from the root rather than attempting to manage the resultant unpleasant consequences. School administrations need to prioritize the aspect of sanitation and hygiene and should ensure regular cleaning of the latrines and urinal sanitation facilities. Keep Regular maintenance to avoid possible break-down of the facilities which would comparatively make repairs more costly than maintenance and should design sanitation and hygiene policies and programs to groom pupils and general school population into practically responsible citizens with good knowledge and practices as far as sanitation and hygiene are concerned to ensure proper utilization of the sanitation facilities.