Schools must observe laid-down cholera protocols to ensure safe opening this Tuesday, the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education has directed.
Speaking during a clean-up campaign at Warren Park 1 High School yesterday, Primary and Secondary Education Minister, Torerai Moyo, encouraged schools to promote the washing of hands through installing hand-washing points around the school.
“We encourage school administrators, supported by schools’ development committees, to ensure there is running water. Where we experience water shortages, we need to devise some strategies of ensuring that water is there.
“There should be running water at the gate as learners come to school they need to wash their hands or perhaps better you sanitise them at the gate. At every strategic place in our schools, be it toilets or ablution facilities, there must be running water.
“If you don’t have a tap, devise a tap, devise a container where learners can open a tap and wash their hands. There must be liquid soap, if you can’t afford liquid soap it’s better you buy a green bar and cut it into pieces so that children wash hands,” said Minister Moyo.
“If we don’t take action, it means we will lose a number of our learners, even teachers, supporting staff will die.
“Everyone is important to us, and to me the Minister, we want everyone to be protected. Prevention is better than cure,” he said.
The Government would not delay the start of term due to cholera as Zambia had done. “Zambia deferred schools opening due to a cholera outbreak. I told by a journalist that in Zambia they have postponed the opening of schools because of cholera to 29 January.
“We can’t lock our schools but we have to make sure that we prevent the further spread of the disease. Let’s educate our learners on the dangers of cholera on the importance of ensuring that we keep a clean environment,” said Minister Moyo.
He stressed the importance of health coordinators in schools as well as encouraged them to do their work properly.
“We have health coordinators in our schools. I know some of the teachers have been trained as health coordinators. They must upscale their activities. Information dissemination is key so let’s ensure that we teach our learners the importance of good hygiene and the washing hands all the time before they eat food.”
“The habit of buying unwashed fruits from vendors must currently stop. You end up sick and we lose important life,” he said.
The Minister and his officials would be be moving around to witness the schools opening.
“From Tuesday, we won’t be staying in our offices. We are going to join you on the opening day. So we have selected some schools that we are going to visit from 8 am. We will just be observing. We are going to visit and ensure that all the districts are visited,” said Minister Moyo.
Turning to the clean-up campaign, Minister Moyo said the ministry was enforcing the clean up in schools to ensure it became a habit from a tender age.
“There is a phrase which says we need to catch them young. We need to inculcate the skill of cleanliness. The youths need to appreciate the importance of protecting the environment and also ensure that their surroundings are clean and we want that to be a culture for our learners.
“To appreciate the importance of a clean environment that cleanliness is next to godliness, we want them to have national pride in protecting the environment, ensuring that the ambience where they live, where they study, in like surrounding areas of their lecture rooms and classrooms, it must be clean.
“I think that should continue as a habit among the learners and youths to ensure that a clean environment should always prevail and exist,” said the Minister. – Herald