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Not All Schools Offer Basic Handwashing Facilities

Report finds more than 40% of schools worldwide lack access to soap and water

August 17, 2020

As schools around the U.S. ramp up cleaning and health protocols in preparation for the new school year, a joint report from the World Health Organization (WHO) and UNICEF reveals that last year 43% of schools around the world lacked access to basic handwashing with soap and water. This lack of handwashing facilities makes it impossible for all schools to operate safely during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The report found that about 818 million children lack basic handwashing facilities at their schools, putting them at increased risk of COVID-19 and other transmittable diseases. More than one third of these children (295 million) are from sub-Saharan Africa. In the least developed countries, seven out of 10 schools lack basic handwashing facilities and half of schools lack basic sanitation and water services.

Other key findings from the report include:

  • Of the 818 million children who lacked a basic handwashing service at their school, 355 million went to schools which had facilities with water but no soap, and 462 million went to schools which had no water.
  • One in three schools worldwide had either limited drinking water service or no drinking water service at all.
  • 698 million children lacked basic sanitation service at their school, such as toilets.

Make sure your facility patrons and guests understand the importance of handwashing in helping to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and other infectious diseases.

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