Some of the eight Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) – like the second, which “ensure that all boys and girls complete a full course of primary schooling” or the fourth that “reduce by two thirds the mortality rate among children under ﬁve” concern direct to childhood, the others especially the ﬁrst one and the ﬁfth have an indirect relation with child population that for many reasons like poverty, lack of education or bad economical distribution, is one of the vulnerable population in the world.
Also the conventions on the rights of the child recognize not only the right of the child to education
(Article 28) but also to ensure that children are supported in the use of basic knowledge of child health and nutrition, hygiene and environmental sanitation (Article 24).
The real school situation for children, especially in developing countries, is far to be good, because for example, not all children receive education, have access to safe drinking water at home and school or live and study in a healthy environment.
The present study has been made in Colombia during the year 2006 and it is concerned about the environmental situation and its relation with pupils’ health of 34 rural schools located in 2 municipalities 2 hours far from Bogotá (the capital city) by car.
The ﬁrst objective was to establish the environmental conditions of those 34 rural schools as well as the common illnesses suffered by the pupils. The second objective was to formulate social proposals economically reliable, and environmentally friendly that improve the actual environmental situation
and as consequence of these factors improvement the betterment of the pupils health conditions. The total number of pupils is about 1.500 and the age range is between 5-15 years old.
This diagnosis covers items like:
• Water supply regularity
• Water quality
• Water treatment for drinking water inside the school
• Sanitary installations (Basins, toilet)
• Food supplies, kitchen conditions.
• Solid waste management
• Principal illness suffering by the pupils.
The diagnosis has been made using a formulary (with 30 questions) that has been distributed in the rural schools of the 2 municipalities, visits to the half of the rural schools that include taking water samples for microbiological analysis and visits to the major’s ofﬁce of both municipalities. As soon as this period of data recollection was ready, the organization and analysis of the collected information has been made.
For this purpose the normatively, health and environmental impact were taking as a basis.76 Workshop 2: Progress in Environmental Public Health
A didactic and easy to understand tool with the 3 light colours (green, yellow and red) was choose to show the results. Every of the different aspects (water quality, quantity, solid waste management, sanitary installations, kitchen conditions and food supplies) depending on the situation in every school received one of this colours; green if there is not a problem, yellow if the situation its been a problem
until now red if there is already a problem that affect directly health and environment. No one of the rural schools has every item in green, some of them have more than one aspect to improve (yellow and red) but some of the rural schools have many aspects in red. Every of this aspect that received red colour is a challenge to improve.
The principal results of this diagnosis show that in most of the 34 rural schools doesn’t exist and adequate solid waste management, in many schools the water supply is not daily, some depends from rain water, although some schools have a water ﬁlter the drinking water quality is not good, and in many cases the sanitary installations are not enough for the number of children and doesn’t work right.
These results should have a close relation with the pupil’s health; for that reason general information about illness and vaccination registers from pupils in the rural schools have been also collected.
The proposals include the participation of many local actors like the municipality people, local leaders, local people that have receive training on health and sanitation from a NGO, teachers, pupils and parents.
The ﬁrst proposal is suggested in order to repair all the small sanitary aspects like water connections, taps, water tanks etc. which are broken.
It is also important to evaluate the water ﬁlter conditions and to learn how to clean them. For those rural schools which don’t have any water ﬁlter is important to deﬁne the boiling time and the management of the drinking water.
The second proposal is to establish an efﬁcient recycling program, and the used of the biodegradable part of the solid waste as a raw material for a composting plan. The resulting compost will be used to improve the earth of a small vegetable garden.
In third proposal is related with the improvement of the water management in the rural schools and include a urine diversion and after storage time the application of it as a fertilizer. Also the reuse of grey water after a bioﬁlter treatment is a method to give the water an efﬁcient management.
And the last proposal is related to the health conditions of the pupils that should serve as indicator of the implementation of all the above mentioned proposals. Information about illnesses suffering by the pupils and measures of height and weight will be taken regularly in every rural school.
To conclude, this project is a good beginning to work with the new generation of children, to show the people or rural areas of a developing country that there is an easy way to have a better health and so a better life and that some waste products that are only waste right now can be reused protecting no only the human health but also the environment.