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2011 (Vol. 3, Issue: 4)
Article Information:

Hand Washing Practices among School Children in Ghana

M. Steiner-Asiedu, S.E. Van-Ess, M. Papoe, J. Setorglo, D.K. Asiedu and A.K. Anderson
Corresponding Author:  Matilda Steiner_Asiedu 

Key words:  Hand washing practices, school children, hand washing facilities, hand washing campaigns, private and public schools, ,
Vol. 3 , (4): 293-300
Submitted Accepted Published
2011 January, 01 2011 May, 13 2011 July, 30
Abstract:

The high incidence of diarrhoeal diseases and other communicable diseases among children due to poor personal hygiene and sanitation remains a concern on the public health agenda in most countries. To address the problem efficiently, an understanding of the knowledge and practices among target populations is needed to plan and design behavioural interventions. It is against this background that the present study was carried out to determine the hand washing practices among children in private and public school in the Metropolis in the Greater-Accra region of Ghana, with both private and public schools. A total of 295 school children were randomly recruited into the study. The study was cross-sectional in design and used qualitative and quantitative methods to collect data. A questionnaire was used to obtain information on sociodemographics. A check list was used during the observation of hand washing practices and an interview guide was used for the focus group discussions. The results showed that, most school children observed did not practice proper hand washing with soap, both in school and at home due to the unavailability and inaccessibility of hand washing facilities such as soap, towel and clean running water. However, majority (90.2%) of those who used the school toilet practiced hand washing with soap after defecation. Private schools were found to be 63% (p = 0.02) less likely to wash their hands after using the toilet, 51% (p = 0.03) less likely to wash their hands before eating and 77% (p<0.001) less likely to wash their hands with soap after eating compared to their public school counterparts. Parents reported the presence of hand washing facilities at home but structured observations during home visits proved otherwise. The need to extend the hand washing campaigns to private schools cannot be overemphasised. It will be useful for the Ghana Education Service to collaborate with all stakeholders; such as Ghana Health Services, National Community on Water and Sanitation Programme, health workers, and the Parents Teacher Associations (PTAs).This union will foster stronger linkages that will pave the way for educating and monitoring the school children for effective hand washing practices.
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  Cite this Reference:
M. Steiner-Asiedu, S.E. Van-Ess, M. Papoe, J. Setorglo, D.K. Asiedu and A.K. Anderson, 2011. Hand Washing Practices among School Children in Ghana.  Current Research Journal of Social Sciences, 3(4): 293-300.
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ISSN (Online):  2041-3246
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