Half of Yemeni public schools lack restrooms, ministry reports
Unfortunately, this project has been facing a lack of coordination between the health ministry and education ministry.
The workshop, held from May 28 to 29, showed considerable gaps in implementation between the partners of the fund. Their efforts are not well concentrated on addressing the sanitation problem in Yemeni schools.
Over the course of the workshop, there was controversy over whether the health ministry or Ministry of Education should head up the project. Currently, the Ministry of Education is in charge.
The program includes teaching on a number of hygienic practices, which aims to highlight the health of students and staff.
According to information obtained from the Ministry of Education, as of last year, half of Yemeni schools lacked restrooms. Moreover, 38 percent of those with access to bathrooms at school do not have access to them during study hours.
The information from the field survey indicated approximately 35,000 toilets are utilized out of a total 41,000, meaning almost 16 percent are not used.
The ideal number of bathrooms within schools is one bathroom for every 25 students. However, in Yemen the ratio is currently one bathroom for every 319 students.
A separate study conducted by the general health administration, found that only 90 bathrooms out of 298 are used, putting the ratio at one bathroom for every 424 students. The study included 17 schools in Sana'a.
The study also found that there are 81 bathrooms used by teachers, giving an average of one bathroom for every 16 teachers.
Some possible consequences of not providing adequate bathroom facilities for students include kidney failure, urinal diseases, permanent deformities and bone fractures resulting from the lack of cleanliness.
The transmission of diseases such as diarrhea and malaria is also often due to poor health within schools.
Abdulwahab Al-Majahd, a Water and Environmental Development Fund manager, said defecating in the open is a major cause for the large amounts of flies and other insects.
“Blocked pipes cause sewage leaks all over the school compound; they create a terrible stench as well,” he said.
Mohammed Al-Sharafi, a school building designer at the Ministry of Education, said the poor quality of bathrooms in schools is due to water shortages and a lack of electricity in addition to the absence of sanitation workers. There is very little allocated by school budgets to maintain and clean schools.
He went on to say that bathrooms in large school buildings often smell horrible and get shut down.
Al-Sharafi concluded by saying some studies and projects regarding adding additional water tanks have been conducted. However, many of these projects have failed due to stolen materials or neglect of sewage infrastructure.