RELEVANT SUSTAINABLE GOALS
Why Handwashing Is Important ?
- Reduces the number of people who get sick with diarrhea by 23–40%
- Reduces diarrheal illness in people with weakened immune systems by 58%
- Reduces respiratory illnesses, like colds, in the general population by 16–21%
- Reduces absenteeism due to gastrointestinal illness in schoolchildren by 29–57%
Health and inclusive learning environments remain lacking in many schools.
- Globally, 29 per cent of schools still lack basic drinking water services, impacting 546 million schoolchildren; 28 per cent of schools still lack basic sanitation services, impacting 539 million schoolchildren; and 42 per cent of schools still do not have basic hygiene services, 802 million schoolchildren.
- One-third of children without basic services at their school live in LDCs, and over half live in fragile contexts.
- Sub-Saharan Africa and Oceania are the only two regions where coverage of basic sanitation and hygiene services in schools remains under 50 per cent; sub-Saharan Africa is the only region where coverage of basic drinking water services in schools remains under 50 per cent.
- Achieving universal coverage in schools globally by 2030 requires a 14-fold increase in current rates of progress on basic drinking water, a three-fold increase in rates of progress on basic sanitation, and a five-fold increase in basic hygiene services.
- In LDCs and fragile contexts, achieving universal coverage of basic sanitation services in schools by 2030 would require over 100-fold and 50-fold increases in respective current rates of progress.
- Improving pandemic preparedness and response will require more frequent monitoring of WASH and other elements of infection prevention and control (IPC) in schools, including cleaning, disinfection and solid waste management.
Providing disability-accessible WASH services in schools is key to achieving inclusive learning for all children. Still, only a limited number of countries report on this indicator and national definitions vary, and far fewer provide disability-accessible WASH.
- Emerging national data shows that disability-accessible WASH coverage is low and varies widely between school levels and urban and rural locations, with schools more likely to have accessible drinking water than accessible sanitation or hygiene.
- In half the countries with data available, less than a quarter of schools had disability-accessible toilets. For example, in Yemen, 8 in 10 schools had toilets, but only 1 in 50 schools had disability-accessible toilets.
- In most countries with data, schools were more likely to have adapted infrastructure and materials – such as ramps, assistive technology, learning materials – than disability-accessible toilets. For example, in El Salvador, 2 in 5 schools have adapted infrastructure and materials, but just 1 in 20 have disability-accessible toilets.