Eliezer Workplace Management joins Nigerians in celebrating our children on the recent concluded Children’s Day. May 27th was instituted as Children’s Day in Nigeria by the United Nations in 1964 to celebrate childhood, promote international togetherness, awareness among children worldwide, and improving children’s welfare.
Civil and Corporate societies both have an important part to play in making the goal of the Children’s Day celebration accessible to all Nigerian children and the facility management industry is not excluded. Eliezer Workplace Management has highlighted three areas where FM’s role will have a noticeable impact on the Nigerian child.
Children need access to adequate health care as it influences their physical and emotional health, growth, and development but with 97% of Nigerians (about 194 million people) not using health insurance access to basic/primary healthcare is less than optimal especially for children.
The Primary health care sector (PHC) can benefit from the use of strategic facility management as facilities managers can help to coordinate patients’ room data, medical facilities, building equipment, security, cleaning, and maintenance thereby ensuring the safety and hygiene of patients. Facility managers can also help in the daily operations of healthcare facilities by making sure that they are code compliant which means facility managers attached to health centres must understand all the codes and policies that the facility may need to conform to. This includes state and federal code and standards from the Federal Ministry of Health, WHO, OSHA, CDC policies, and others decided by the Nigerian government.
The benefit of strategic facility management to primary health care (PHC) has already been noticed in other African countries, according to a study carried out in 2018 by Erlyn K. Macarayan et al. suggest that higher PHC facility management scores are significantly and independently associated with essential drug availability as well as overall quality and components of responsiveness of care as reported by patients and families
Statistics indicate that in Nigeria six out of every ten children suffer one or more forms of physical, sexual, or emotional violence before they reach 18 with 1 in 4 girls and 1 in 10 boys sexually abused before their 18th birthday.
The above number means that 15.8 million Nigerian children will be sexually abused before adulthood but Eliezer Workplace Management believes that protecting against such incidents should be the top notch approach in the fight in preventing such occurance but the question arises what relationship do facilities have sexual abuse and can Facility management help stem this issue?
A landmark sexual abuse case happens in Pasadena, America 2018 where a jury awarded an 11year old boy $7 million to be paid by one of the largest aquatics centres in California (Rose Bowl Aquatic Centers), the jury deliberated and determined that the aquatics centre 70% responsible for the abuse. This case highlights the fact that facilities can be held responsible for abuse occurring at their facility and the cost will be damaging to both the organization reputation and their bottom line, so FM’s have the additional responsibility of preventing childhood sexual abuse.
The first point of call is before the facility is built, construction and property managing companies should consult facility management firms during the design process so that out of sight areas like hallways, restrooms, changing rooms, and locker rooms are designed appropriately in a way that allows for privacy but discourages seclusion.
What of older facilities? FM’s may not be able to change the design as this is costly but they can compensate for this operationally e.g. installing cameras, management having access to restrooms, which will allow staff to adequately monitor those spaces and this where rules and regulation apply e.g. Japans transparent public toilets.
Enforcing rules and regulation
Safeguarding the children in our facilities requires enforcing the rules and regulations that will help manage suspicious guests and supervision of children so FM’s should define what is appropriate and inappropriate behaviour by adults toward children. FM’s can check state/federal government agencies that handle children for guidelines and they should apply to both staff and adult patrons (retail establishments). interacting with unrelated children.
The next step is to find out the legality in reporting suspicious cases as this will help the FM’s ensure that the organization whose facilities they manage adheres to the law which will undoubtedly protect the children in those facilities.
A key imperative to protecting children is enabling the staff to monitor them and they cannot do that effectively without proper training. FM’s should ensure that their staffs are trained in the rules of engagement especially when dealing with persons exhibiting suspicious behaviour.
It is vital that the training program contains detailed instructions on what constitutes suspicious behaviour and what staff should do if they detect it. A good area to cover is how to determine the relationship between a child and the adult the child is interacting with and how to tactfully explain the ground rules /guidelines for appropriate behaviour,
There have been number studies linking the state of educational/school facilities to the output of students and teachers. For students it was discovered that school facilities affect their health, behavior, engagement, learning, and growth in achievement hence the need for facility management.
Facility management in Nigerian schools should pay more than the usual attention to air quality and temperature control. Indoor air quality is of primary concern because disease-causing organisms like bacteria, viruses, and allergens seem to breed in a poor ventilation system. There is also the issue of indoor pollutants that emanate from the classroom itself e.g. paints, all these factors lead to poor air quality in school which can negatively affect children, so FM’s HVAC maintenance is regularly and efficiently carried out so as to improve ventilation.
The temprature of a classroom may seem like unusual concern to have but studies have shown that the temperature of a place can affect productivity of the inhabitants for instance the ideal temperature range for effective learning in reading and mathematics has been found to be between 68º and 74º. To maintain such a temperature in every classroom within a school, teachers typically need to be able to control the temperature in their own classroom or s small blocks of classrooms hence FM’s can use appropriate technology to determine and regulate the temperature of the rooms..
Children as it’s often said are the leaders of tomorrow so by protecting and securing them today we are securing Nigeria’s future, so no matter how small a role we all have a part to play.