KATHMANDU: Hundreds of students at the nation’s 156-year-old Sanskrit Secondary School in the capital share just two toilets, much to their irritation, especially for girls.

Sunita Fadera, a ninth grader in the school, said she would rather not drink water since the sanitation was not that convincing in her school.

“After the meal, I don’t drink much water these days as it compels me to go to the same unsanitary toilet,” said Sunita.

The 156-year-old school is housed in the same building where Durbar High School (DHS) stands.

Ministry of Education said 41 per cent of the public schools in Nepal have toilet facility out of which only 26 per cent have separate latrines for girls. Even those few available toilets are in wretched state, one of the reasons why girls’ attendance in schools is dismal.

Dhanajaya Yadav, principal of DHS, blamed on budget crunch to build girl-friendly toilets.

Since a month, the only toilet for girls in the Sanskrit Secondary School has been out of order but the authority seemed less bothered to maintain it.

Available data showed that only 46 per cent of the population has access to toilet against water supply coverage of 76 per cent. There also exists a large gap between the rich and poor when it comes to sanitation and water supply coverage.

According to Water Aid Nepal, 14.2 million Nepalis currently do not have access to sanitation. While 7.1 million are deprived of safe drinking water.

More than 50 per cent of those without sanitation and two-third of those without safe drinking water live in the Tarai region.

Globally, at least 5,000 children under five years old die of diarrhoea, linked directly with poor sanitary condition and unsafe drinking water, Water Aid Nepal said.

The government has the target of providing sanitation for all by 2017. In order to meet this ambitious target, it needs to invest Rs 7.5 billion for sanitation and drinking water. To meet this aspirational target by the stipulated deadline, the government has to build at least 10 toilets in each VDC, every month.

Reports of the National Demographic and Health Survey, Ministry of Health and Population, 2006, showed that inadequate access to water and sanitation was responsible for 10,500 child deaths in Nepal.

Lack of safe drinking water and dismal sanitation facility accounts for 88 per cent of the mortality.