818m children lack access to handwashing facilities in schools- WHO/UNICEF Report



No fewer than 818 million children globally lack basic handwashing facilities in their schools, putting them at increased risk of COVID-19 pandemic and other transmittable diseases.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) and United Nations Children Education Fund (UNICEF) made this known in a joint report made available on Thursday.

This is part of the report, a Joint Monitoring Programme (JMP), which showed that 43 per cent of schools around the world lacked access to basic handwashing with soap and water in 2019.

“Around 818 million children lack basic handwashing facilities at their schools, which puts 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 lacked basic handwashing facilities and half of schools lacked basic sanitation and water services,” it said.

According to the report, other key findings showed that of the 818 million children who lacked basic handwashing service at their school, 355 million went to schools which had facilities with water but no soap.

It added that 462 million of the children went to schools which had no facilities or water available for handwashing.

“In the 60 countries at highest risk of health and humanitarian crises due to COVID-19, three in four children lacked basic handwashing service at their schools at the start of the outbreak.

“Half of all children lacked basic water service; and more than half lacked basic sanitation service.

“One in three schools worldwide had either limited drinking water service or no drinking water service at all.

“Six hundred and ninety-eight (698) million children lacked basic sanitation service at their school,” it said.

The report also noted that as schools worldwide were struggling with reopening, handwashing with soap and water were key condition for schools to be able to operate safely in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Henrietta Fore, UNICEF Executive Director, said in the report: “Global school closures since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic have presented an unprecedented challenge to children’s education and wellbeing.

“We must prioritise children’s learning. This means making sure that schools are safe to reopen – including with access to hand hygiene, clean drinking water and safe sanitation.”

Also, Dr Tedros Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General, said: “Access to water, sanitation and hygiene services is essential for effective infection prevention and control in all settings, including schools.

“It must be a major focus of government strategies for the safe reopening and operation of schools during the ongoing COVID-19 global pandemic.”

The report stressed that governments seeking to control the spread of COVID-19 must balance the need for implementation of public health measures versus the associated social and economic impacts of lockdown measures.

It said that evidence of the negative impacts of prolonged schools closures on children’s safety, wellbeing and learning were well-documented.

The report identified several WASH-related protocols on hygiene measures, use of personal protective equipment and cleaning and disinfection.

Others were providing access to clean water, handwashing stations with soap, and safe toilets, as a prerequisite for safe reopening of schools.

It added that UNICEF and WHO were committed to achieving equitable access to adequate WASH services worldwide.


Edited By: Olawunmi Ashafa/Olagoke Olatoye (NAN)


COVID-19: Ebonyi Govt. lifts restrictions on weddings, others



Gov. David Umahi of Ebonyi has lifted restrictions placed on public burials, wake-keeps, weddings, conferences, meetings, festivals, religious services, among others in the state.

The News Agency of Nigeria recalls that restrictions were placed on such activities in the state since March,  due to the ravaging COVID-19 pandemic across the country and the globe.

The lifting of the restrictions was contained in a statement signed by Mr Uchenna Orji, State Commissioner for Information and Orientation and made available to NAN on Sunday.

Orji said that the measure was in furtherance to the state’s post COVID-19 economic recovery plans.

“It’s also in the exercise of the powers conferred on the governor by the state’s Coronavirus and other Dangerous Disease and Related Matters Law 005 of 2020 and other relevant laws.

“It is also subject to the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) COVID-19 protocols and other directives of the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19,” he said.

The commissioner said that closure of public places such as event centres, bars worship centres, educational institutions, public parks, night clubs, cinemas among others had been lifted.

“All restrictions on conduct of business and commercial activities are hereby rescinded.

“Regulations on wearing of facemasks, hand washing, use of  hand sanitisers, observance of social distancing among others, are still in force in public places, events and gatherings,”  he said.

He further disclosed that the governor charged security agencies and public office holders especially Chairmen of Local Government Areas and Coordinators of Development Centres, to enforce subsisting regulations.

“These are regulations contained in the proclamation hereof, in the interest of the safety and health of our people,” he added. 

Edited By: Chioma Ugboma/Maharazu Ahmed
Source: NAN
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General news

NCAT Zaria to open additional schools for pilots, aviation security personnel – Rector



The Nigerian College of Aviation Technology (NCAT) Zaria, says it will open Airport Emergency Training School and another school for training of aviation security personnel.

This it said would  enhance its training capacity and assert its position as regional center of excellence.

Capt. AbdulSalam Mohammed, the Rector of the College, disclosed this in an interview with News Agency of Nigeria on Sunday in Zaria.

Mohammed said as part of the requirements to be certified as regional center of excellence, the college was required to developed standard training packages by International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO).

He said the college had developed ICAO standard training packages in 2017 for the certification, and since then, had increased the number of standardised  training packages from three to seven.

“We are in the process of opening a new school called the airport emergency training school that is where we will be training airport rescue and firefighting personnel.

“That is where we are installing fully automatic fire simulator. We are also in the process of establishing the school for training aviation security personnel,’’ he said.

According to the rector, the college is in the process of developing ICAO training packages for online delivery of courses, instead of in the classrooms.

He noted that COVID-19 had changed the way of doing business in the world which had greatly affected NCAT training, adding that throughout the COVID-19 lockdown the college introduced virtual classrooms for its students.

The rector said the college also introduced new courses in the flying school such as the Airline Transport Pilot License, which was like a masters degree for the pilots.

He added that the college also introduced Multi Crew Coordination Course (MCC) for pilots and Jet Orientation for pilots.

“These two courses were aimed at preparing the newly graduated pilots from flying school to prepare them for work in the commercial airline industries,’’ he said.

Mohammed said the college embarked on re-fleeting of its training aircrafts to upgrade the equipment, so that the training aircrafts would be fleeted with modern electronic flight instrument systems which came in a modern aircraft.

He added that the college had purchased seven Diamond Aircrafts out of the 20 aircrafts which it  planned  to buy, stressing that the re-fleeting would enable the college train more pilots.

He said: “the Diamond Aircrafts use Jet A1 which is the fuel the big commercial passenger jets use and it is readily available and it costs one quarter of what we paid for the Avgas.’’

Mohammed the said the amendment of the College Establishment Act had commenced, adding that the exercise would enable it to access Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFUND) grants.

“To that effect, the bill was sent by the President to the National Assembly earlier this year and it has already passed the first and second readings, it is now waiting for public hearing.

“Unfortunately, COVID-19 restrictions has caused delay for the public hearing, but I understand that the national assembly is making arrangement to have the public hearing very soon.

“Once the bill is passed into law,, the college will be recognised as a tertiary institution,’’ he said.

Edited By: Chioma Ugboma/Maharazu Ahmed
Source: NAN
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COVID-19 palliatives: LGA distributes food items to 1,690 households in Kebbi



The Kalgo Local Government Area of Kebbi, says it has distributed relief materials to over 1,690 households in 10 wards in the area to cushion the effect of COVID-19 pandemic.

Chairman of the council, Alhaji Shamsu Umar-Kalgo, while distributing the relief materials to the beneficiaries in Kalgo on Sunday, commended the distribution committee for adhering to the guidelines attached to the directive.

He said that it was the wish of the council that the food items would alleviate the sufferings of the beneficiaries in the various communities.

“This support is to cushion the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, hence we are expecting that this distribution, at the end of the day, will assist our people,” he said.

He said that the food items included,  1,899 bags of sugar, 1,899 cartons of spaghetti and macroni, 88 bags of salt, bags of maize flour and 3,890 packets of noodles, among others.

“A committee was set up comprising, ward heads, political party leaders, women leaders and security personnel.

“We will closely monitor and supervise the distribution in order to ensure that the food items reached the under- listed households,” Umar-Kalgo said.

The chairman also commended Gov. Atiku Bagudu for the support he had given  to the council ,while calling on well-to-do individuals to assist the vulnerable people.

Earlier, Alhaji  Bawa Kukah, member representing Kalgo constituency in the state House of Assembly, advised the chairman to ensure proper monitoring and supervision of the distribution.

In his remarks, the District Head of Kalgo, Alhaji Haruna Bashar, commended the state government and the local council for the gesture, and urged the beneficiaries to use the items for the purpose it was meant for.

Also, the District Head of Diggi, Alhaji Abubakar Atiku, thanked the council and state government for the intervention.

“You should use the items to support your families and no one should attempt to sale it as you and your  families are in dire need of the support in this trying time of COVID-19 and flood in the state,” he said.

One of the beneficiaries, Malam Shehu Kalgo, commended the council chairman for the gesture and promised that the materials would be judiciously utilised. .

Edited By: Chioma Ugboma/ Maharazu Ahmed
Source: NAN
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Schools reopening: Gov. Ganduje lauds FG’s level of preparation



Gov. Abdullahi Ganduje of Kano State has commended the Federal Government for progress recorded and measures taken toward reopening of schools in the country.

Hassan Fage,  Chief Press Secretary to the Deputy Governor, said this in a statement on Sunday in Kano.

The governor described the federal government’s policies and programmes in education as veritable tools to national development.

He said: “the progress recorded and measures taken by Buhari led administration in reopening of Schools in the country is commendable.

“I wish to acknowledge the commitment of the federal government in the education sector, particularly at this time when schools are about to be reopened,” he said.

Represented by his Deputy, Alhaji Nasiru Gawuna, Ganduje  made the assertion while receiving the Minister of State for Education, Chukwuemeka Nwajiuba, who visited him in his office.

Ganduje also said the state government was committed to prioritising  the education sector in view of its importance.

Hr said fumigation had been conducted with Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) provided to the schools across the state.

“As part of compliance with the COVID-19 protocols for ensuring  safety and protection of the teaching staff and the students ahead of the reopening of schools, fumigation has been conducted with PPE provided to the schools across the state.

“The state government  recently released the sum of N880 million for the renovation of some schools across the State, ” he said.

The Minister of State for Education, Chukwuemeka Nwajiuba said he was in Kano for the North West Stakeholders meeting to review the guidelines and protocols for reopening of schools.

He further said during the visit that he would also assess the facilities in the schools with a view to making them functional.

The minister also commended the efforts of the Kano government for its laudable initiatives in promoting education, which he described as worthy of emulation by other states.

Edited By: Chioma Ugboma/Felix Ajide
Source: NAN
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