15 October – Global Hand-washing Day

15.10.2014

Marking the Global Hand-washing Day, experts of the Health Inspectorate remind about the importance of personal hygiene in educational establishments.

Health Inspectorate, responsible for personal hygiene enforcement in comprehensive and primary schools of Latvia, performs scheduled checks based on approved plan and, in scope of its competence, also responds to individual applications submitted by inhabitants.
Planned checks conducted in educational establishments in 2012/2013 study year revealed that most establishments have personal hygiene products (toilet paper or napkins, soap, hand-dryers or towels) their students can use. All 709 pre-school establishments visited in scope of control plan were well supplied with aforementioned hygiene products. 14 out of 948 comprehensive, boarding and vocational school checked in scope of control plan failed to provide toilets with toilet paper or napkins, soap, hand-dryers or towels.
 In March and April of 2013 Inspectorate also took part in World Health Organisation pilot study Indoor Air Quality in Schools. Study included surveying of students from four different schools. Questionnaire contained questions about hygiene, including hand washing at school. 166 students returned questionnaire forms. When asked how often they wash their hands, majority or 90% of students responded: regularly. When asked whether soap is always available for washing hands, students mostly or in 48% of cases mentioned that soap is available, some or 36% claimed that soap is not always available and 16% said they do not know.
Official hygiene requirements have to be met to ensure appropriate environment for child’s development and minimise child’s health risks associated with education process. Compliance with hygiene requirements is the responsibility of a headmaster or director of an educational establishment. Nevertheless, parents and children are also encouraged to address these issues seriously and ensure that compliance with hygiene standards is guaranteed by educational establishment at all times. Children should take care of their hygiene themselves.
 Hand hygiene is a good and at times the single most effective way to prevent a number of diseases, especially severe gastrointestinal infections. If you at least wash your hands after using toilet and before meal, you can quite successfully avoid diseases like Hepatitis A, Meningitis and gastrointestinal, respiratory, skin and mucous membrane infections.