The global COVID-19 pandemic has revealed the extent to which schools are struggling with the provision of safe drinking water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH). To describe the WASH conditions in schools and discuss the implications for the safe reopening of schools during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, a systematic review of peer-reviewed literature on WASH in schools in low- and middle-income countries was performed. In April 2021, five databases, including MEDLINE (via PubMed), Web of Science, Scopus, AJOL, and LILACS, were used to identify studies. Sixty-five papers met the inclusion criteria. We extracted and analyzed data considering the Joint Monitoring Programme (JMP) definitions and the normative contents of Human Rights to safe drinking water and sanitation. Publications included in this systematic review considered 18,465 schools, across 30 different countries. Results indicate a lack of adequate WASH conditions and menstrual hygiene management requirements in all countries. The largely insufficient and inadequate school infrastructure hampers students to practice healthy hygiene habits and handwashing in particular. In the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, being hindered to implement such a key strategy to contain the spread of SARS-CoV-2 in the school environment is of major concern.
|Journal||International journal of environmental research and public health|
|Publication status||Published - 7 Mar 2022|
- Developing countries
- Hand disinfection
- Human rights
- Menstrual hygiene management
- Water supply