Improving water sanitation and hygiene in developing countries
It has been realized that the consumption of unclean and unhygienic water has contributed significantly to the increase in mortality rates in these countries. In line with this, the purpose of this study was to examine whether training programs aimed at improving understanding of hygiene and promoting hygienic practices are effective. The participants in the study were drawn from 6 Indian villages, 3 in the intervention group (N=107) and 3 in the non-intervention group (N=94). The study found out that training programs are effective in the improvement of the understanding of hygiene and promotion of hygienic practices as will be seen in the ‘Results’ section. The study is important as it provides relevant and vital information for future studies and research on the same and also serves as a platform of benchmark for countries with a similar objective.
Currently, every country is committed to finding a permanent solution to the increase of mortality rates owed to the consumption of unsafe, unclean, and unhygienic water (Robinson, 2006). After numerous pilot strategies, developed countries have led the pack in rolling out training programs to improve people’s knowledge of water sanitation and hygiene as well as change their behaviors positively. Following suit are developing countries that have come to realize the effectiveness of such programs particularly in the achievement of the objective of improving understanding of hygiene and promoting hygienic practices. A study conducted on the effectives of training programs on the accomplishment of a similar objective is analyzed in this report. The report entails results and discussion sections. The results section gives a description of the findings of the research conducted. On the other hand, the discussion section explains the findings while comparing them with the findings of other studies. This section also identifies the limitations of the research and comes up with suggestions for further research.
How has a training program focused on improving hygiene impacted on the knowledge and behavior of participants?
The study found out that a training program focused on the improvement of hygiene impacts on the knowledge and behavior of participants in various ways. First, the study found out that training programs lead participants to embrace the behavior of treating water before consumption. Second, the study found out that with a training program, participants could acquire the knowledge that water that is free from obvious dirt is not safe for drinking unless it undergoes treatment. Another result of the study was that a training program leads participants to embrace the behavior of treating water most of the time to make it safe for consumption. The other result was that a training program could lead participants to acquire the knowledge that the fact that water does not make a person sick does not mean that it will not make another person sick if it is untreated.
The results of the study obtained about how a training program focused on improving hygiene impacts on the knowledge and behavior of participants, obtained from 6 Indian villages, 3 in the intervention group (N=107) and 3 in the non-intervention group (N=94) are summarized as follows.
- Knowledge of safe practices
Asked whether water that is free from obvious dirt is safe to drink, 21% of intervention villages and 93% of non-intervention villages agreed while 79% and 7% respectively, were in disagreement.
Asked whether water can be treated to make it safe for consumption, 100% of intervention villages and 52% of non-intervention villages were in agreement whereas only 48% of the non-intervention villages disagreed.
Moreover, 95% of intervention villages and 44% of non-intervention villages stressed the need for treating water every now and then while 5% and 56% of intervention and non-intervention villages respectively affirmed that as long as water is treated most of the time, there is no need of doing so every now and then.
Also, 19% and 48% of intervention and non-intervention villages respectively agreed that water that does not make a parent sick when consumed will not make a child sick. 81% of intervention villages and 52% of non-intervention villages confirmed that water that does not make a parent sick could make a child sick if consumed.
A larger percentage of intervention and non-intervention villages (99% and 86% respectively) believed that unclean water could cause diarrhea, which could cause death.
98% of intervention villages and 815 of non-intervention villages opposed the argument that people can get diarrhea because of supernatural reasons such as punishment from God or breaking norms.
- Use of safe practices
Regarding safe water storage practices, 22% of intervention villages and 62% of non-intervention villages confirmed that their storage water container is kept on the ground while 78% of intervention and 38% of non-intervention villages confirmed that their storage container is raised off the ground.
Arguably, training programs focused on improving hygiene are effective because they impact positively on the knowledge and behavior of participants. According to Pfoh et al (2013), training programs are some of the interventions that play an integral role in the improvement of hygiene. With training programs, participants can embrace positive behavior and acquire knowledge on how to improve hygiene (Pfoh et al, 2013). Most participants of such programs embrace positive behaviors such as treating water to make it safe for drinking and treating water frequently before consumption. Soon et al (2012) articulate that training programs help participants acquire knowledge that is relevant and vital to the improvement of hygiene. According to the study, such programs enhance participants’ awareness that unhygienic conditions could result in diarrhea, which could lead to death. Furthermore, Adesokan et al (2015) suggests that training programs enhance participants’ knowledge and awareness of the fact that diarrhea is caused by unhygienic conditions and not by supernatural reasons such as punishment from God or breaking norms. Thus, this study underscores the fact that training programs are effective as they enhance the knowledge and change the behaviors of participants positively. It should be understood that training programs focused on improving hygiene are conducted by experts and professionals with advanced knowledge and skills on how people should maintain and improve hygiene in their environment (Erickson et al, 2013). Thus, with the enforcement and implementation of these programs, the participant’s acquisition of knowledge and change of behavior is irrefutable.
The limitation of the study conducted on how training programs focused on improving hygiene impact on the knowledge and behaviors of participants is that it only focuses on water and food, and ignores other aspects such as the environment. Thus, it is vital that further research focuses on how training programs affect the knowledge and behavior of participants towards ensuring the environment’s hygiene.
Adesokan, H. K., Akinseye, V. O., & Adesokan, G. A. (2015). Food Safety Training Is Associated with Improved Knowledge and Behaviours among Foodservice Establishments’ Workers. International Journal of Food Science, 2015.
Erickson, J. I., Jones, D. A., Ditomassi, M., Massachusetts General Hospital., & Sigma Theta Tau International. (2013). Fostering nurse-led care: Professional practice for the bedside leader from Massachusetts General Hospital. Indianapolis, IN: Sigma Theta Tau International.
Pfoh, E., Dy, S., & Engineer, C. (2013). Interventions to improve hand hygiene compliance: brief update review. Retrieved online from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK133371/
Robinson, A. (2006). Community-led total sanitation. British Travel Health Association Journal, 7, 18.
Soon, J. M., Baines, R., & Seaman, P. (2012). Meta-analysis of food safety training on hand hygiene knowledge and attitudes among food handlers. Journal of Food Protection®, 75(4), 793-804.