A project to ensure that pupils have access to and practice proper personal hygiene and sound environmental sanitation has been launched in Tamale.
The project titled: “Building Resilience for Improved Development and Growth of Pupils’ Education” (BRIDGE), also seeks to ensure that retention and academic performance of children increase by 70 per cent by the year 2021.
BRIDGE is a three-year project, which will end in 2021, and it is being implemented in 20 selected basic schools spread across seven assemblies in the Northern Region namely Tamale Metro, Sagnarigu, Savelugu, and East Gonja Municipalities, Kpandai, Kumbungu and Tolon Districts.
It is being implemented by the Tamale Archdiocesan Development Office with support from Kindermissionswerk.
Very Reverend Matthew Yitiereh, Vicar General of the Catholic Archdiocese of Tamale, who launched the project in Tamale, said it was in line with the strategic objective of the church to improve the health of all in the society.
Reverend Father Sebastian Zaato, Project Manager, BRIDGE Project, said the project sought to make operational a national policy by the Ghana Education Service (GES) on School Health Education Programme (SHEP) to improve health and hygienic practices at schools.
He said since the launch of the SHEP policy implementation guidelines by GES, not much has been done to implement it in schools across the country due to lack of resources and the commitment to support SHEP activities.
Father Zaato said this has resulted amongst others in inadequate access to water, poor environmental sanitation and personal hygiene and generally poor health of school children, which were a threat to the country’s quest at achieving universal access to education and Sustainable Development Goals three, four and six.
Father Zaato said with the BRIDGE Project, “We are determined to make a significant contribution to ensuring that pupils stay in school all year round by improving their health status through regular health screening, treatment and improved access to sanitary facilities.”
He said under the project, school health education clubs would be formed, pupils would undergo health screening once every month as well as supported to access the national health insurance scheme.
He said schools would be provided with potable water through sinking of boreholes amongst others to improve health and hygiene practices amongst pupils.
Mr Salifu Saeed, Northern Regional Minister, whose speech was read on his behalf, described the project as timely and appropriate to augment services by the Ghana Health Service (GHS) and GES to improve the quality of life of pupils.
Representatives of GHS, GES, National Health Insurance Authority, and Environmental Health Units lauded the project pledging their support for it.