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Resume: In accordance with the World Health Organization’s (WHO) estimates, 88% of the burden of diseases worldwide could be prevented by improvements related to the quality of the drinking water, adequate sanitation and hygiene and rational management of water resources. UNICEF survey in Georgian schools has demonstrated a very difficult situation in this regard.

In accordance with the 2013 UNICEF survey, 26% of the schools are without the so called sanitary facilities. In 12% of urban schools and 23% of rural schools, toilet compartments are either partially functional or non-functional. In accordance with the aforementioned survey, every tenth school is without a functional hand washing facility. One of the important findings of the research is that schools have acute infrastructural problems. In addition, of importance is critical lack of awareness among students about hygiene issues.

In regard to updated information, in 2018 UNICEF and WHO published a joint global report – Drinking Water, Sanitation and Hygiene in Schools. In accordance with the report, 26% of public schools in Georgia are without clean drinking water and 26% of public schools do not have toilets at all. Apart from that, there are no basic sanitation services available in 40% of the schools and there are no basic hygiene services in available 88% of the schools. Of surveyed schools, 27% are without hand washing facilities.

Analysis

European Georgia – Movement for Freedom MP, Sergo Ratiani, spoke about sanitary and hygiene conditions in public schools during the session of the Parliament of Georgia and stated:“In accordance with the UNICEF survey, there are no toilets in 27% of the schools, whilst 26% of the schools are without hand washing facilities.”

FactCheck took interest in the accuracy of the statement.

In 2013, The United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund (UNICEF) published a survey entitled as Survey of Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Conditions in Public Schools. UNICEF has surveyed sanitary and hygiene conditions in 600 public schools of Georgia. The survey was based on information provided by the school students, teachers, administration and directors as well as on direct observations in regard to school sanitary conditions and behaviour of the students. The survey also exposed variety of problems, which public schools in Georgia have to face. One of the important findings of the survey is that schools have serious infrastructural problems in terms of water supply and sanitary aspects. In addition, of importance is that level of awareness among students about hygiene issues is critically low.

In accordance with the findings of the survey, nearly 70% of public schools have piped water supply system. However, in 70% of these schools, piped water is not inside the school building. Four percent of urban schools and 12% of rural schools mostly use unimproved water sources.[1] In tenth of surveyed schools, main water source was dysfunctional at the time of survey. Absolute majority of such schools are located in villages. One of findings of the survey is that in terms of water supply, rural schools face more difficult situation as compared to urban schools. Of note is that drinking water quality in public schools of Georgia is not properly inspected. More than 70% of the schools have never undertaken the so called water treatment, including those schools which use unprotected wells and springs.

In regard to toilets and sanitary conditions there, only 35% of the schools have toilet compartments inside the school building, whilst in the remaining 65%, distance between the school building and toilet compartment fluctuates between 10-200 meters. Nearly half of the schools do not have separate toilets for the teachers. In addition, almost none of the schools have toilet compartments adapted for people with special needs. Toilet compartments in half of the schools were dirty and every fifth toilet compartment was dysfunctional. Majority of the schools do not have toilet paper in toilet compartments.

In accordance with the survey, at the time of survey, toilet compartments were functional in 88% of urban and 77% of the rural schools. In 12% of urban and 23% of rural schools, toilets were either partially functional or/and dysfunctional. Of note is that in some cases toilet compartments did not have doors, whilst 20% of rural and 62% of urban schools had no electricity inside toilets. Of importance is that 26% of the schools are without sanitary facilities,[2] which is conducive to strong anti-sanitary conditions. In addition, schools with sanitary facilities mostly do not have them in sufficient amount, which would correspond to the number of students.

In regard to hand washing facilities, in accordance with the survey, every tenth public school is without functional hand washing facility. In absolute majority of the schools, there is no soap, towel or paper towel near hand washing facility. In almost one third of schools the hand washing facilities are not available adjacent to the toilet facilities or nearby. It is also noteworthy that in accordance with the observation, almost half of students do not wash hands after using the toilet.

In regard to updated information, in 2018, UNICEF and WHO published a joint global report – Drinking Water, Sanitation and Hygiene in Schools. In accordance with the report, 26% of public schools in Georgia are without clean drinking water and toilets, there are no basic sanitation services available in 40% of the schools and there are no basic hygiene services in available 88% of the schools. Most of the schools have poor hygiene and sanitary infrastructure, in almost 30% of the schools hand washing facilities are not nearby toilet compartments, whilst 27% of the surveyed schools are without hand washing facilities.

Of importance is that in accordance with the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) estimates, 88% of the burden of diseases worldwide could be prevented by improvements related to the quality of the drinking water, adequate sanitation and hygiene as well as rational management of water resources.



[1] Unprotected well; unprotected spring.

[2] Flush toilet.


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