Int J Environ Res Public Health 19 (11) - [2022-05-25; online 2022-05-25]
The WHO/UNICEF Joint Monitoring Program (JMP) for Water Supply, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) produces global estimates of the real situation of access to water, sanitation and hygiene services, and sanitation and hygiene in households, educational institutes and health care facilities; however it is lacking data on schools in Kazakhstan. Thus, the aim of this research was to assess access to WASH in schools of urban area in Kazakhstan. The study was conducted in seven schools of Central Kazakhstan during the COVID-19 pandemic and restrictive measures. Three data collection methods were used: a questionnaire for administrative staff, a questionnaire for parents and observation. Parents of offline study pupils (only second and third grades due to the pandemic) were included in the survey. Students had access to in-building toilets in all schools connected to the centralized sewer. The number of school toilets varied from 7 (KAZ200085) to 61 (KAZ200089). The average amount of toilets was 28.08 ± 16.97. Only two out of seven schools complied with the requirements of Kazakhstan national sanitary standards for the ratio of school toilets to the number of students. From the questionnaire with the school administrations, it was defined that the primary source of drinking water was the public water supply. All schools regularly disinfect and check the water supply system. At the same time, the results also revealed discrepancies in the answers between administration and parents (2.6% of parents showed that their children have rare access to drinking water), and insufficient monitoring of implementation of WASH services. This study also confirmed that the full provision of access to water and water services in the structure of educational institutions solves several SDG targets.