Report: 28% of schools in Romania lacked basic handwashing facilities in 2019
In 2019, 28% of schools in Romania lacked access to basic facilities to allow handwashing with soap and water - a key condition for the safe operation of schools in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to latest data from the WHO/UNICEF Joint Monitoring Programme.
The same report revealed that only 72% of schools in Romania had minimum access to clean drinking water and basic sanitation.
"Romanian children must be able to continue their education. Formal education has been largely interrupted in early March. Although returning to school should be safe for children, their families and teachers, one in four schools do not have access to adequate hand hygiene, clean drinking water, and safe sanitation. This is the best opportunity to address this challenge once and for all," said Gabriel Vockel, UNICEF Deputy Representative in Romania.
According to the report, 818 million children worldwide do not have access to basic handwashing facilities in schools, which exposes them to an increased risk of contracting COVID-19 and other transmittable diseases. More than a third of them (295 million) are from sub-Saharan Africa. In the least developed countries, 7 out of 10 schools lack basic handwashing facilities, and half of schools lack basic sanitation and water services.
The report stresses that, in their efforts to control the spread of COVID-19, governments must balance the need for implementation of public health measures versus the associated social and economic impacts of lockdown measures. According to the report, there is substantiated evidence highlighting the negative impact of schools' prolonged closure on the safety, well-being, and education of children.
Romanian president Klaus Iohannis announced earlier this month that the new school year would start in Romania on September 14, and most students will likely go to class.
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