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J Diarrhoeal Dis Res. 1998 Dec;16(4):241-7.

Environmental and personal hygiene practices: risk factors for diarrhoea among children of Nigerian market women.

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  • 1Department of Preventive and Social Medicine, University College Hospital, Ibadan, Nigeria.


A Cross-sectional survey was carried out to determine the environmental and personal hygiene practices of mothers of children aged less than five years in two markets in Ibadan--one with poor sanitary conditions (Bodija) and the other one with better sanitation facilities (Gbagi). The study sought to identify the risk factors for diarrhoea among these children. Two hundred and sixty-six mothers in Bodija and 260 in Gbagi were interviewed. A questionnaire was used for collecting information on social and demographic characteristics, personal and environmental hygiene practices, including sources of food and water for their children, waste-disposal practices and occurrence of diarrhoea among their children aged less than five years. The educational status of the women in Bodija was lower than that of the women in Gbagi (p < 0.001). Sixty (23%) women of the Bodija market mentioned that tap water was the source of drinking water for their children, while 91 (34%) brought water from their homes, and 45 (17%) bought it from vendors in the market. The corresponding figures for women of the Gbagi market were 41 (16%), 98 (38%) and 19 (7%). Two hundred and thirty-four (90%) women in Gbagi prepared breakfast at home for their children compared to 216 (81%) women in Bodija. This difference was statistically significant (p < 0.05). Waste disposal and personal hygiene practices were poorer among the women in Bodija. Yet the occurrence of diarrhoea was not significantly different in both the markets. Risk factors for diarrhoea identified in this study were water and food bought from vendors, child defaecation practices, mothers' cleaning up practices after child's defaecation, and refuse-disposal practices. The inherent risk of sale of unwholesome food and water by vendors is a great concern for public health authorities in Nigeria. Efforts to control diarrhoea must not only be focused on improving mothers' knowledge about food hygiene but also on environmental hygiene practices within the community.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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