The schools in Markamtola village in Chhattisgarh have a unique feature. In addition to the attendance roster kept by the teachers, they also maintain a sanitation register for the students.
This ingenious book keeps track of the children's personal hygiene habits - whether nails have been clipped, clothes are clean, hair is properly cut and combed and hands are washed after going to the toilet and before eating.
Schools have been identified as the entry point for sanitation awareness as part of the Total Sanitation Campaign (TSC) being implemented in the state by the Ministry of Rural Development's drinking water supply department, reports Grassroots Features.
Children are more open to new ideas and they carry home important messages on personal hygiene and cleanliness to their parents, observed B.R. Marai, headmaster of a primary school.
"At the start of the school session in July 2006, we introduced latrine use among the children. At first they were scared and hesitant to use toilets but we encouraged them. At the same time we taught them the importance of wearing clean clothes which would keep flies away," he said.
As mid-day meals are provided free for primary level children, they were taught to wash their hands before and after eating. "Every Wednesday, their nails are inspected and clipped because, as we emphasise, dirty nails are the prime source of illness and disease," Marai added.
Like her peers, 10-year-old Kiran Kumari feared she would slip and fall into the latrine. But with time and the help of her patient teachers, using the school toilet became a routine ritual.
"I have been using the toilet regularly now for one and a half years," she said proudly. Others like 12-year-old Kumlal Sahu were slower to start, especially since he did not have a latrine at home.
"I told my father repeatedly to get a latrine constructed outside our house, but iPage: 1 2 3 Related medicine news :1
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