Despite the many positive health benefits of hand
washing, latrine use and household practices, cholera, Acute Watery Diarrhoea (AWD),
remains a big challenge globally (WHO 2018). The Somali region of Ethiopia faces
multiple disease outbreaks despite government interventions by Somali Regional Health
Bureau (SRHB) and development Partners (UNICEF 2017). Deaths due to diarrheal diseases
reached 16,573 in 2017 which represented 6.41% of the total deaths (WHO 2017).
The purpose of this research study was to establish
the role played by family hygiene practices in reducing AWD cases amongst vulnerable
children under the age of five and pregnant women in the Somali region. Further,
the study sought to target interventions that strengthen individuals (care givers,
and community leaders) and institutions’ capacities that shape prevention and treatment
seeking in the first 90 days of intervention. Data was obtained from May 1, 2017
to August 1, 2017, and data were analysed using a triangulation of qualitative analysis.
Data sources included articles, desk interviews, focus group discussions, and quantitative
approaches (facility registers) of the consultation (pregnant women and children).
AWD tests from 2015 to 2017 were also analysed, and excel software was applied to
compile the data as described in tables and figures.
The study identified 45% of the population lacked
basic education and knowledge on various ways of preventing diarrhoea such as good
hygiene, food preparation, and latrine use practices. The findings revealed disparity
in rural and urban communities regarding access to safe water, latrine use, electricity,
media, and health facilities. Findings noted percentages of water source consumption
as 18.1% use river water, 12.7% rely on open well., 41% use tap water, and only
5.5% use hand pump and ponds. All these factors contributed to the increase of AWD
cases. From the literature, public health preventive interventions are a catalyst
to avert disease outbreaks such as AWD or cholera with primary focus among children
under five, pregnant women, and adults, although this remains challenging. Training
of health care workers is a priority for early diagnosis of AWD. Knowledge gaps
exist in clinical trials for AWD treatment protocol, prevention, and nutritional
services. Further studies are needed to reduce the knowledge gaps, lack of follow-up,
diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of AWD and other disease outbreaks. Understanding
of the relationship between good hygiene practices and diseases and how this relationship
affects the day-to lives of children, women, and the entire community is worth noting.
Similarly, there appears to be lack of knowledge about basic prevention options.
keywords: cholera/acute watery diarrhoea,
outbreak, diagnosis, prevention, practices, adults, children, pregnant women, and
Somali region of Ethiopia.
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