Water Handling and Hygiene Practices on the Transmission of Diarrhoeal Diseases and Soil Transmitted Helminthic Infections in Communities in Rural Ghana

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Date

2014

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Civil and Environmental Research

Abstract

In Ghana, diarrhoeal diseases have been identified as the second commonest health problem treated in outpatient clinics. In this study, the relevance of water handling and hygienic practices on the transmission of diarrhoeal diseases and soil-transmitted helminthic infections in three communities in Ghana was evaluated. Specifically, the research looked at physico-chemical qualities of household water, the incidence of diarrhoeal diseases and soil-transmitted helminthic infections. Thirty households were selected by the systematic random sampling technique from the three communities namely Mayera, Ashongman village and Tetegu. Within each household, domestic water was collected and transported to the laboratory for physico-chemical testing. Standardized questionnaires were also administered. The questionnaires addressed issues such as water storage, treatment and hygienic practices among households. The incidence of diarrhoeal diseases and soil transmitted helminthic (STH) infections among households were also assessed. The commonest water sources included pipe-borne water, borehole, rainwater and water from rivers. Most households in the three communities did not treat their water before use. The commonest water storage containers included barrels without lids, pots and plastic containers. There was no significant correlation between STH and diarrhoeal diseases at both Mayera and the Ashongman communities (R=0.279, p=0.136 for Mayera; R=0.311, p=0.094 for Ashongman). However, there existed a weak significantly positive correlation between the incidences of diarrhoeal diseases and the incidence of STH at the Tetegu community (R=0.384, p=0.036). Health education in the aspect of proper hand washing with soap under running water should be intensified in the three communities.

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Keywords

diarrhoeal disease, water handling, hygiene, soil transmitted helminth, water quality

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