WHO Pristina Continues Supporting Institute of Public Health to Assess School Environments
As heating season is upon us, Institute of Public Health (IPH) has started carrying out measurements of environmental and WASH conditions in 10 schools in Kosovo. These assessments have begun on November 2020 and will conclude in December 2020. This activity is made possible by the support provided by WHO Pristina, who has donated a set of samplers and 2 sensors to carry out these measurements. All of this is done in the frame of Healthier Kosovo, a project funded by the Government of Luxembourg and implemented by UNDP, UNV and WHO.
Within the scope of this project, assessing school environments is one of the major components. So far, WHO has organized trainings and workshops to raise the capacities of IPH to assess school environments, developed Kosovo-specific methodologies and questionnaires, and translated other WHO materials on these topics. With these assessments, the intent is to better understand what the environmental conditions in schools are; what pollutants are more present, WASH conditions, drinking water quality, ventilation and temperature, and more. As students and staff spend a major portion of their lives in these environments, it is important to ensure the best conditions possible to promote better health and wellbeing. In addition, as the importance of safe WASH practices has increased in importance since COVID, these assessments will also provide information to the relevant stakeholders on the state of this domain during these critical times.
Once the assessments are finalized, IPH plans to publish a report (and tentatively organize a conference) with the main findings and recommendations for all the relevant stakeholders such as Ministry of Education and Ministry of Health, with the aim to initiate interventions where they are most needed to improve environmental conditions in schools.