Addis Ababa, 16 April 2013 - In a bold multi-sectoral response, today, UNICEF in collaboration with the Ministries of Education; Health; and Water, Mines and Energy, launched a set of guidelines to improve access and quality of water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) services in Ethiopia’s primary schools and health facilities.
“The new design and construction guidelines represent a bold multi-sectoral effort, aimed at reforming WASH facilities in public institutions such as schools and health facilities,” said UNICEF Representative to Ethiopia, Dr. Peter Salama.
Current data from a National WASH Inventory conducted in 2012, revealed that the water supply for primary schools stands at 31 per cent, while sanitation coverage is 33 per cent in an estimated 27,000 primary schools across Ethiopia. In the country’s 3, 200 health facilities, a mere 32 per cent have safe water.
Speaking on the occasion, Federal Minister of Water, Mines and Energy, Alemayehu Tegenu, said “Without water, it is difficult to sustain a good learning environment for children and healthy environment for patients.” According to the Ministry of Water, Mines and Energy, each student requires a minimum of five litres per day to meet the daily metabolic function, sanitary and hygiene requirements.
The National Design and Construction Manuals for Water Supply and Sanitary Facilities are a multi-sectoral effort, with input across the sectors of education, health and WASH. The manuals are essential tools that will provide guidelines for supporting WASH infrastructure in Ethiopia’s schools and health facilities. Both manuals contain detailed design drawings as well as bills of quantity. In addition, the manuals are easy to apply in WASH construction and rehabilitation efforts.
The State Minister of Education Fuad Ibrahim said reforms in school WASH will improve overall education outcomes, as overall performance, health status, enrolment, attendance and retention of children in school improves. He added that a good WASH programme will reduce the drop out of girls. Dr. Kebede Worku, State Minister of Health said “The provision of WASH in Health Institutions is critical for health delivery.”
Beyond the manuals, UNICEF called for sustained investment to support robust WASH infrastructure development. Dr. Salama said that schools and health facilities required support from the government and international development partners to operationalize the recommendations contained in the manuals. The aim is for each of the country’s 27,000 schools and 3200 health centres, to receive the manuals and, ultimately, for women and children to have improved access to safe water and sanitation.
UNICEF works in more than 190 countries and territories to help children survive and thrive, from early childhood through adolescence. The world’s largest provider of vaccines for developing countries, UNICEF supports child health and nutrition, good water and sanitation, quality basic education for all boys and girls, and the protection of children from violence, exploitation, and AIDS. UNICEF is funded entirely by the voluntary contributions of individuals, businesses, foundations and governments. For more information about UNICEF and its work visit:www.unicef.org