263439 Knowledge, Attitudes, and Practices of Personal Hygiene Among School Children in Assendabo, Ethiopia

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Mabel Ng, PA-S , MSPAS/MPH program, Touro University, California, Vallejo, CA
Anna Ngo, PA-S , MSPAS/MPH program, Touro University, California, Vallejo, CA
Annette Aalborg, DrPH , Public Health program, Touro University, Vallejo, CA
Communicable diseases within populations can often be reduced through the single act of handwashing. Unfortunately many developing countries are unable to provide regular handwashing opportunities to their people due to lack of resources. A cross sectional study was conducted in Assendabo, Ethiopia in collaboration with Jimma University during January 2011 to assess the knowledge, attitudes, and practices of personal hygiene of local school children of one primary and one junior secondary school. The aim of this pilot study was to obtain baseline information of local hygiene practices and assess the association between demographic variables (level of parents' education, level of personal education, participant's age and gender) and attitudes as to when hand washing is appropriate, and handwashing behavior. With a sample size of 345 participants, those in the 10-13 year old range washed their hands the most often; 90% of the participants washed their hands before a meal, only 70% of would wash after defecation and 32% after urination. A combination of religious practices and cultural factors may account for the older age group's improved handwashing. The main obstacles to washing hands more often were lack of water and soap and the knowledge of appropriate scenarios for hand washing. Challenges of the study included language barrier and interpretation of questionnaire by data collectors and participants. The results of this study will be useful to design future studies, target public health education, and efforts to improve resources for handwashing with the goal of preventing the spread of infectious illnesses and diseases.

Learning Areas:
Advocacy for health and health education
Assessment of individual and community needs for health education
Communication and informatics
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Protection of the public in relation to communicable diseases including prevention or control
Public health or related research

Learning Objectives:
The aim of this pilot study was to identify baseline information of local hygiene practices and assess the association between demographic variables (level of parentsí education, level of personal education, participantís age and gender) and attitudes as to when hand washing is appropriate, and handwashing behavior.

Keywords: Youth, Rural Health

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am the principal author and investigator of this study under the direction of my public health professor at an accredited school and program. My interests are to discover and develop ways to improve health, sanitation, and access to medical care in rural settings.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.