272 Million children miss class due to hygiene-related Diseases

By Elias Hakizimana.

  • Rwanda will join the rest of the World to celebrate the World Hand wash Day
  • 95 percent of Rwandans do not have hand washing facilities

Globally, 272 Million children miss classes due to Diarrhea according to a study by the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF).

Apart from this, more diseases resulting from lack of sanitation and hygiene (wash) including Typhoid, worms and respiratory diseases can affect children’s health.

UNICEF calls for Governments’ efforts to increase citizens’ mobilization to wash their hands and have clean toilets in a bid to avoid any consequence of lack of sanitation and hygiene.

On November 15th, 2019, Rwanda will join the rest of the World to celebrate the World Hand wash Day that will also recall Rwandans to have a culture of washing their hands before preparing meals or breastfeeding babies.

Speaking during a press brief on October 10, 2019, Albertine Uwimana, UNICEF-Sanitation and Hygiene focal person said that having clean water and using it effectively helps to avoid public health hazards.

Albertine Uwimana, UNICEF-Sanitation and Hygiene focal person said that having clean water and using it effectively helps to avoid public health hazards such as stunting among children/Courtesy Photo 

86 percent of Rwandans have access to water as per figures by the National Institute for Statistics (NSR) but the distance they make to fetch water is still long of over 30 minutes (going and coming).

“We need that they make at least 500 meters (going and coming) in rural areas and at least 200 meters in towns. This is what we can call ‘access to water’.” Uwimana said.

Only 66 percent of Rwandans have access to water basing on the statement by UNICEF. 20% of the rest have access to water but use 20 minutes to go fetching and more than 60 minutes on the queue.

The general sanitation status shows that 87 percent of Rwandans have clean and decent toilets, 11% have toilets that can put their lives in danger while 2% still defecate behind bushes. UNICEF advises people to invest in toilets (6 meters of depth) as it is not expensive and is vital to prevent many diseases.  

Hygiene that involves conditions or practices of maintaining health and preventing disease, especially through cleanliness also means a lot in prevention of some diseases. Only 5 percent of Rwandans have hand washing facilities and 95% do not have them.

When it comes to class absences, it was revealed that when people wash their hands properly (with pure water and soap) can reduce class absences at 50 percent and can reduce hygiene-related diseases at 50 percent.

UNICEF also calls countries’ governments to avail pure water in public places such as schools, health facilities, churches, and other places that host many people in order to accelerate measures to fight against hygiene-related diseases.

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Elias Hakizimana

Elias Hakizimana, CEO&Founder of The Inspirer Ltd,(www.rwandainspirer.com) is a professional Rwandan Journalist with Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism and Communication, received from University of Rwanda’s College of Arts and Social Sciences (CASS) in 2014. He served various media houses in Rwanda including Rwanda Broadcasting Agency (RBA) in 2013 and became passionate with English Online and Print Media Publications where he exercised his talent as a Freelance News Reporter for The New Times, The Independent, The Rwanda Focus, Panorama and more before he became a Self-Entrepreneur as the CEO and Founder of The Inspirer Limited in early 2017.

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