The crucial role of adequate water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) facilities in influencing children’s handwashing behaviour is widely reported. Report from UNICEF indicates a dearth of adequate data on WASH facilities in schools, especially in the developing world. This study sought to contribute to building the evidence-base on school hygiene facilities in Ghana. The study further explored for possible associations and differences between key variables within the context of school water, sanitation and hygiene.
Data was collected from 37 junior high schools using an observational checklist. Methods of data analysis included a Scalogram model, Fisher’s exact test, and a Student’s t-test.
Results of the study showed a facility deficiency in many schools: 33% of schools had students washing their hands in a shared receptacle (bowl), 24% had students using a single cotton towel to dry hands after handwashing, and only 16% of schools had a functional water facility. Furthermore, results of a proportion test indicated that 83% of schools which had functional water facilities also had functional handwashing stations. On the other hand, only 3% of schools which had functional water facilities also had a functional handwashing stations. A test of difference in the proportions of the two sets of schools showed a statistically significant difference (p < 0.001).
In addition, 40% of schools which had financial provisions for water supply also had functional handwashing stations. On the other hand, only 7% of schools which had financial provisions for water supply also had functional handwashing stations. There was a statistically significant difference in the proportions of the two sets of schools (p = 0.02).
We conclude that it is essential to have a financial provision for water supply in schools as this can potentially influence the existence of a handwashing station in a school. An intervention by government, educational authorities and civil society organisations towards enabling schools in low resource areas to have a sustainable budgetary allocation for WASH facilities would be timely.