Part of the “software” portion of the Ghana WASH project took me and a few of my colleagues to a Primary School (Elementary 1st – 6th grade) and a Junior High School (JHS). Ghana WASH built latrines for these two schools a few years ago. In exchange for the latrines, the schools have agreed to teach regular health lessons to the students and keep the latrines properly maintained. Our job was to evaluate how well these schools implementing the health lessons and maintaining the latrines.
One of the schools we visited was Tsito E.P. Primary, a Presbyterian Elementary school. When we arrived with met with the SHEP (School Health Education Program) Coordinator. The SHEP Coordinator is one of the teachers at the school who is in charge of everything that includes health education – from health lessons to after school health clubs. SHEP is a program started by the Government of Ghana a few years ago, so every school is “supposed” to have a SHEP Coordinator.
After meeting with the SHEP Coordinator, we patrolled the campus. First, we looked at the latrines, which were very clean because the students clean them five days a week. Then during break we got to interview the students. We observed their general hygiene and also quizzed them to see if they have learned anything from the health lessons they have been receiving. Our criteria for having good hygiene is clean nails, a full head of hair (ring worm is rampant here; I’d say 1 out of every 10 kids has it on their head), a personal handkerchief, and a cup for drinking water.
I’d say about half the children I evaluated passed the test. Since the children love to swarm around any person who is white, this also provided a good opportunity for some impromptu health lessons.
The rest of the month is looking like it’s going to be rather busy. I have a couple of workshops I need to attend, I’m teaching a computer course to the staff of my NGO, and the construction of latrines is about to get underway in four communities. At least I’ll have plenty to blog about.