Knowledge, Attitudes and Practices of cooks towards Safe water maintenance in primary schools in Kamukuzi and Kakoba divisions, Mbarara Municipality, Uganda
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Introduction Water related diseases are mostly associated with consumption of contaminated water and are prevalent among young populations who according to the Ugandan education system, make up the largest percentage of the primary education level, where most of their time is spent in schools. This puts schools in a position to ensure that they provide safe water for drinking to the pupils and also ensure the availability of clean containers and storage facilities that minimise contamination. While at school, contamination of water along the water chain is largely attributed to school cooks who collect, transport and treat water making it necessary to study their behaviour in relation to the maintenance of the safe water chain. Objective The study assessed the knowledge, attitudes and practices of cooks towards the maintenance of the safe water chain in primary schools in Kamukuzi and Kakoba divisions, Mbarara Municipality so as to inform policy formulations into management of the safe water chain in schools. Methodology This was a descriptive cross-sectional study that utilized a semi structured questionnaire to collect quantitative data from 93 respondents in the 37 schools found in Kakoba and Kamukuzi divisions. Qualitative data was collected from the 8 key Informants using key informant interview guides. Results Majority 86% (80/93) of the respondents were knowledgeable about ways in which water could get contaminated during storage, and 87.1% (81/93) could tell when water is contaminated. More than half 62.4% (58/93) agreed that it is important to cover drinking water vessels although 71.0% (66/93) of them agreed that safe water should be used at all times. Majority 89.3% (83/93) covered their drinking water vessels although only 71.1% (59/93) had their covers clean. Conclusion There was generally a high level of knowledge and satisfactory practices. However, the attitudes were not highly positive which could lead to undesirable practices. The school management’s provision and supervisory role was identified as key influencing the knowledge, attitudes and practices of the cooks towards the management of a safe water chain.