Healthy, hygienic lifestyle in schools

Xavier College year 10 students Siteri Naba (left), Harry William, Sunena Ram, Asinate Makilla and Sofia Tamanikoula utilises the new hand wash station at their school in Ba. Picture: REINAL CHAND

THE importance of healthy and hygienic lifestyle in schools was yesterday stressed to academics and health officials attending a two-day workshop focused on water, sanitation and hygiene up-skilling.

Speaking at the workshop at Holiday Inn Suva, medical officer Dr Daniel Faktaufon commended the teachers for their efforts in implementing this program in schools and ensuring that students learn more on living a healthy and hygienic lifestyle.

“Recently the ministry had declared an outbreak in Meningococcal and health teams were deployed to schools that had been declared a hotspot,” he said.

“It was a good opportunity to witness how teachers play pivotal role in not only teaching but to practically apply the things they teach to students.”

“Trying to apply simplicity amongst children; that is to wash their hands after visiting the toilet or never to share utensils, cups was challenge however in time then they understood concept that sharing this things was the main course and there was spread of MEN-C or other related diseases within the school.”

The overall aim of the workshop is to develop an understanding on the importance of the WASH programs in schools and to also learn of the challenges students and teachers face in understanding this concept of healthy hygiene.

Dr Faktaufon added that handwashing was important and it can protect anyone.
“It can protect your families and communities but yet passing the message across takes time and as participants we need to understand that more awareness is needed in schools and especially at our homes,” he said.

Also presenting at the forum, National Coordinator for Health Promoting Schools Mohammed Khalif said the most important way schools can have an impact on health was by promoting children’s good hygiene behaviour through hygiene education and by making handwashing with soap a daily part of the school routine.

Mr Khalif also emphasised to teachers that healthy school environment will also determine a good turnout of students meaning there will be decrease in absenteeism.

“We have found out from our own findings that a lot of girls frequently stay home during menstruation due to social, cultural and religious beliefs and practices, a lack of sanitary pads or because there are no gender segregated toilets or private washing facilities  in school,” he said.

He also urged teachers to ensure that school facilities were environmentally friendly but also health conscious too.

 

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