Assessment of the utilization of hand washing facilities at household level in Namuwongo Slums of Kampala, Uganda
Nakanwagi, Angella Mary
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Introduction:Developing countries like Uganda still bear the highest burden of communicable diseases worldwide. In Uganda, high morbidity and mortality rates from these diseases is especially due to the rapidly upcoming urban slums like Namuwongo slum whose poor WASH conditions favour the spread of such diseases and thus the recurrent outbreaks in the country. Hand washing is a low-cost intervention of renowned effectiveness that has been proven to be of great importance in prevention of infectious diseases. However, this practice is yet to be taken up especially in the slum communities of the Uganda. Objective: To assess the utilization of hand washing facilities at household level in Namuwongo slum of Kampala, so as to generate information that can be used to design interventions to improve hand washing practices in the area. Methodology: This was a cross sectional study, employing quantitative data collection methods including a structured questionnaire and an observational checklist. A sample size of 318 female caretakers took part in the study. Univariate and bivariate analysis were done to come up with results from the collected data. Results: In this study, 82.4%of the participants were sufficiently knowledgeable about hand washing. Most households 56.6% in the study area had No facilities for hand washing as majority used jerry cans as their hand washing facilities. Less than half 44.7% of the participants were found to be good users of hand washing facilities and the commonest reasons for not always washing hands were being busy and forgetting. Level of education, awareness of the materials required for hand washing and other factors like Presence of a hand washing facility and distance to the water source had significant associations with hand washing facility use. Conclusion: Despite the sufficient knowledge on hand washing, majority of the caretakers displayed poor hand washing practices thus poor hand washing facility use. Therefore, there is need for continuous trainings and sensitization of caretakers on hand washing in order to improve their knowledge and consequently practices thus better utilization of hand washing facilities.