Barriers and facilitators to wash uptake in public primary schools in Butemba Sub-county, Kyankwanzi District.
Wacha, Julius Bomu
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Background: Water, Sanitation and Hygiene refers to the safe water supply for drinking, washing or other purposes, safe disposal of excreta, and the provision of facilities that promote hygiene in institutions. Inadequate provision of Water, Sanitation and Hygiene facilities in schools compromises learners’ health and well-being by accelerating the spread of diarrheal diseases, contributing to stunting among children and increased absenteeism, ultimately affecting pupils' academic performance. This study sought to assess barriers and facilitators to ownership, access and utilization of Water, Sanitation and Hygiene facilities among public primary schools in Butemba Sub-County. Methods: The study was cross-sectional in design, employing quantitative and qualitative data collection approaches. Quantitative data on access, utilization and functionality of Water, Sanitation and Hygiene facilities was collected using semi-structured questionnaires and observation checklists, respectively, while a key informant interview guide was used to collect qualitative data. Quantitative data were entered into Epidata software and analyzed with Stata software (version 14). Frequencies and percentages were presented in tables and graphs. Qualitative data were transcribed and analyzed manually. Themes were identified and relevant quotes were used for emphasis. Results: There was low utilization of Water Sanitation and Hygiene facilities, with sanitation facilities at 48.1%, and utilization of hand washing facilities was high (97.1%). However, only 18.2% of the pupils washed their hands using soap. The level of functionality of Water Sanitation and Hygiene facilities was 25% for water supply facilities, 25% for sanitation and hand washing facilities and the main barriers reported were vandalism, no Menstrual Hygiene Management facilities for the girls and inadequate funding of the Water Sanitation and Hygiene activities. Conclusion and recommendations: From the study, vandalism, lack of Menstrual Hygiene Management facilities for girls and inadequate funding of Water Sanitation and Hygiene facilities were the major barriers to access and utilization of Water Sanitation and Hygiene facilities in schools. Some of the facilitators included support towards the construction of water storage facilities to increase access to safe water. However, this was only in the selected schools. Therefore, the government needs to allocate funds towards constructing more WASH infrastructures in all public primary schools across the Butemba sub-county.