Knowledge and attitude of hand washing among school children and education on hand washing technique. Rural East Rwanda

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DOI: 10.21522/TIJPH.2013.04.02.Art019

Authors : Marie Louise Umwangange


Hand washing is a basic and simple practice which has a positive impact on community health; effective hand washing is an important measure to prevent the spread of microorganisms.

The objective of this study is to assess knowledge and attitude of hand washing among school children and to provide a health education session on effective hand washing technique.

It is a quantitative cross-sectional study. The study used a sample size of 180 children studying in grade 4, 5 and 6. A self- administered questionnaire was used to collect data, 170 questionnaires were well filled and a health education session was conducted on effective hand washing technique.

The results revealed 78.2% children who reported to always wash hands after using toilet, 88.8% children who reported to always wash hands before eating. 82.3% reported to use water and soap when washing hands and 87.1 % reported that they washed in palm, between fingers and in fingernails. The study showed that the reasons of not washing hands properly are forgetfulness (46.4%), lack of water (18.2%), lack of soap (17%), being in hurry (10.5%)and lack of water and soap (7.6%). The prevalence of diarrhea in three previous months was 13.5% . More than one third of the respondents do not know the importance of hand washing and more than one quarter do not know the consequences of not washing hands properly. The over-reporting of hand washing was different of what observed before health education when only 2 among 15 children randomly chosen washed between fingers.

There is a need of health education in order to improve the knowledge of children regarding hand washing and extending the health education sessions to other schools.


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