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Water 2014, 6(5), 1453-1466; doi:10.3390/w6051453

Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Conditions in Kenyan Rural Schools: Are Schools Meeting the Needs of Menstruating Girls?

1
Child and Reproductive Health, Department of Clinical Studies, Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, Liverpool L3 5QA, UK
2
Kenya Medical Research Institute, Center for Global Health Research, Kisumu 1578-40100, Kenya
3
Center for Global Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA 30333, USA
4
Safe Water and AIDS Project, Kisumu 40100, Kenya
5
Department of Environmental & Global Health and the Centre for African Studies, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32611, USA
6
Center for Public Health, Liverpool John Moores University, Liverpool L3 2ET, UK
7
Ministry of Public Health and Sanitation, Nairobi 10100, Kenya
8
Waterborne Diseases Prevention Branch, National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA 30333, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 10 April 2014 / Revised: 9 May 2014 / Accepted: 16 May 2014 / Published: 22 May 2014
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Water Treatment and Human Health)
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Abstract

Water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) programs in African schools have received increased attention, particularly around the potential impact of poor menstrual hygiene management (MHM) on equity for girls’ education. This study was conducted prior to a menstrual feasibility study in rural Kenya, to examine current WASH in primary schools and the resources available for menstruating schoolgirls. Cross-sectional surveys were performed in 62 primary schools during unannounced visits. Of these, 60% had handwashing water, 13% had washing water in latrines for menstruating girls, and 2% had soap. Latrines were structurally sound and 16% were clean. Most schools (84%) had separate latrines for girls, but the majority (77%) had no lock. Non-governmental organizations (NGOs) supported WASH in 76% of schools. Schools receiving WASH interventions were more likely to have: cleaner latrines (Risk Ratio (RR) 1.5; 95% Confidence Intervals [CI] 1.0, 2.1), handwashing facilities (RR 1.6, CI 1.1, 2.5), handwashing water (RR 2.7; CI 1.4, 5.2), and water in girls’ latrines (RR 4.0; CI 1.4, 11.6). Schools continue to lack essential WASH facilities for menstruating girls. While external support for school WASH interventions improved MHM quality, the impact of these contributions remains insufficient. Further support is required to meet international recommendations for healthy, gender-equitable schools. View Full-Text
Keywords: school; education; children; water sanitation and hygiene; NGOs; Africa; Kenya; menstruation school; education; children; water sanitation and hygiene; NGOs; Africa; Kenya; menstruation
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 3.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Alexander, K.T.; Oduor, C.; Nyothach, E.; Laserson, K.F.; Amek, N.; Eleveld, A.; Mason, L.; Rheingans, R.; Beynon, C.; Mohammed, A.; Ombok, M.; Obor, D.; Odhiambo, F.; Quick, R.; Phillips-Howard, P.A. Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Conditions in Kenyan Rural Schools: Are Schools Meeting the Needs of Menstruating Girls? Water 2014, 6, 1453-1466.

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