Assessment of the availability of facilities, hand washing practices and associated factors among refugees in Omugo Settlement, Arua District
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Background: Globally, 3.5 million children die before celebrating their fifth birthday due to diarrheal diseases which can be prevented through effective hand washing practice. It is estimated that up to 62% of mortality due to communicable diseases in Africa could be prevented by effective hand washing. Uganda annually reports (22%) diarrheal cases of <5s have been mostly due to eating food and other items with contaminated hands. The coverage of hand washing facilities in Uganda is low. Objectives: The study aimed at assessing factors associated with ownership of hand washing facilities and hand washing practices among refugees in Omugo settlement - Arua district so as to derive information that would inform design of strategies for promotion of sustainable hand washing behaviours. Methods: This was a cross sectional study employing quantitative methods of data collection among households in Omugo settlement in Terego constituency, Arua district. Data was collected using pretested semi-structured questionnaires, entered in Epidata and exported to Stata version 13.0 for analysis. Frequencies and percentages were used to describe results which were presented into tables, bar graphs and pie charts for univariate analysis. Chi square analysis was conducted using Stata and presented in tables Results: Majority of study respondents 146 (85.4%) were peasants and 102/171 (59.6%) female. Ownership of HWFs stood at 136 (79.5%) reported to own a hand washing facility, 161 (94.2%) reported to dispose human excreta in latrines, 142 (83.0%) replenished water in the hand washing facility immediately it was finished. Furthermore, over half 95 (55.6%) reported to have been supported by a non-government organization to set up a hand washing facility and 155 (90.6%) reported to wash hands after latrine use.Water quantity used daily and sensitization by health worker were factors associated with ownership of hand washing facility. Presence of hand washing facility was a factor associated with hand washing practice. Conclusions and recommendation: Though the ownership of the hand washing facilities was higher 136 ( 79.5% ) and hand washing practice been low; This study recommends for increased health sensitization on hand washing practices and ownership of hand washing facilities by the implementing partners and Arua District health department in Omugo refugee settlement as well support in ensuring adequate supply of water and other hand washing materials like soap.