Poor school latrines put pupils’ lives at risk

Pupils of Feedlot primary school in Endebess Sub County are at a risk of contracting infectious diseases over poor sanitation at the institution.

The school’s 590 pupils are reportedly relieving themselves openly in the compound afraid of using the dilapidated latrines.

They fear that the wooden floors of the facilities might collapse and bury them alive.

The children have been relieving themselves barefoot in the decrepit latrines that have been in the verge of collapse for close to three years now despite an alarm having been raised.

The latrines, which are made of iron sheets, lack doors and their floors are made of timber which is rotting out.

When KNA visited the school Friday following complaints from stakeholders, the reporters were met with a foul smell from the latrines. They also seemed to have stayed for months unwashed.

The school headmaster, Job Wafula, however, declined to talk to the press saying he was not authorized to do so.

Reports from the Public Health Department in Trans Nzoia show that the school’s toilets were dilapidated and recommendations had been made for the facilities to be condemned.

The County Public Health officer, Norbert Musundi, said the school had four latrines shared among 286 boys and other four latrines for 304 girls and one for the teachers.

Musundi said a baseline survey that was conducted in 2016 for sanitation in schools within Trans Nzoia showed that most schools in Endebess Sub County had poor toilet structures.

He said he had sent public health officers to visit the schools and put to task the school’s management in ensuring that the facilities were constructed immediately to avoid being closed down.

He noted that most pupils hail from poor backgrounds whose parents work at Agricultural Development Corporation (ADC) and were adversely affected with the poor sanitation.

Musundi said that latrine coverage in the County is at 68.9 per cent. At least 31.5 per cent of people are practicing open defecation in the county, he said.

He pointed that more than 368 schools had poor toilet facilities which could lead to challenges of infections among school children.

Musundi however disclosed that the department of environment, Water and Natural resources had set aside S8 million while the health department had provided S0 million to support improvement of sanitation in schools within Trans Nzoia County.

He pointed out that currently with funding from United Children Fund (UNICEF), through the Water and Sanitation for schools (WASH), the department was establishing full packages of sanitation in primary schools which will help most schools in the county.

He said they had identified 16 primary schools in Endebess Sub County to benefit from the programme.

Source: Kenya News Agency