Student thankful for Wash programme, school health club

Health Watch

A SCHOOL girl in Morobe has thanked the European Union (EU) and United Nations children’s education fund’s (Unicef) water sanitation and hygiene (Wash) project for building proper toilet facilities for over 200 schools in the country.
Grade 8 student Celestine Epma of Situm Primary School in Nawaeb, Morobe, said female students could now stay in class when going through their menstruation because they had changing rooms and hygiene teachers they could speak to about their mood change and menstrual health.
Epma is a member of the school’s hygiene club.
She said female students felt that someone respected their privacy as girls with the use of their new menstruation hygiene facility and peer support from school hygiene teachers.
She said the Wash project had made it much easier and safer for girls to use their own toilets that had an incinerator for waste management.
As a hygiene club member, Epma has a huge role in the health club to ensure the girls toilets and washrooms were clean.
“The school health club supports referral pathways when girls have personal problems and need support from hygiene teachers or the school’s management,” she said.
“I also have a vital role in ensuring duty roster are fixed and girls do daily cleaning of their facility.
“I supervise girls in the lower primary with hand washing and making sure they were well groomed before entering the school premises.”
School head teacher John Gemotang said it was difficult providing a fair ratio of gender-separated ablution facilities for the school before the Wash intervention.
“With financial constraints, we have to provide basic Wash services such as accessing clean water and it did not address menstruation hygiene as a priority to until through the Wash intervention,” he said.
Situm Primary School is the biggest school in Nawaeb.

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