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Research Article

Crisis in our schools: survey of sanitation facilities in schools in Bloomsbury health district.

BMJ 1990; 301 doi: (Published 10 November 1990) Cite this as: BMJ 1990;301:1085
  1. R K Jewkes,
  2. B H O'Connor
  1. Department of Public Health Medicine, Bloomsbury Health Authority, London.


    OBJECTIVE--To survey sanitation facilities in schools in Bloomsbury health district. DESIGN--Postal questionnaire. SETTING--Inner London health district. PARTICIPANTS--School nurses. RESULTS--16 of 17 school nurses responded (37 of 41 schools). Fifteen schools did not have the minimum number of toilets and hand basins established in the Education (School Premises) Regulations 1981. In two schools toilets were kept locked for most of the day. In 10 schools toilet paper was not always available, and three of five secondary schools did not have disposal units for sanitary towels in the girls' toilet areas. In 18 of the schools the toilets were not kept adequately clean. CONCLUSIONS--These conditions raise serious questions about environmental health, with the potential for the spread of infectious diseases, and undermine attempts to teach children basic hygiene. Health professionals have an important role in assessing health and safety standards in schools and ensuring that necessary improvements are made.