Hand Washing: Knowledge, Attitude and Practice amongst Mothers of Under-Five Children in Osogbo, Osun State, Nigeria

Asekun-Olarinmoye Esther O., Omobuwa Olubukola, Adebimpe Wasiu O., Asekun-Olarinmoye, Ifeoluwapo O.


The hands are central to many of our daily activities and the use of contaminated hands for cooking and eating enhances transmission of contaminants/germs into the body through food, thereby causing ill-health. Mothers serve the dual role of the children’s nurse (handling their faeces, blowing their nostrils, etc.) as well as the household chef (prepares family’s meals, feeds children). This coupled with poor knowledge and practice of simple hygiene increase the risk of spread of diseases to the under-five children. A community based cross-sectional study set out to determine the knowledge, attitude towards and practice of hand washing among mothers of under-five children in Igbona Area of Olorunda Local Government in Osogbo, Osun State, Nigeria. Three hundred mothers of under-five children were selected for the study using a multi-stage technique. Interviewer-administered semi-structured questionnaires were used to collect information on participants’ knowledge, attitude towards and practice of hand washing. Overall, respondents had good knowledge of hand washing but their educational status and religion were found to influence degree of knowledge of hand washing (p = 0.01 respectively with higher education and Christianity positively impacting knowledge of hand washing). More than three-quarters (81.6%) of them did not think that the use of soap was important in hand washing. Respondents’ practice of hand washing was influenced by their age and educational level (p < 0.0000001) respectively with older age group and higher educational levels corresponding to better practice. In conclusion, the study found good knowledge of hand washing among the respondents with many of them showing positive attitude in favor of hand rinsing. Those with higher education had better practice of hand washing. To realize the health benefits of hand washing, efforts to improve hand washing in this environment should encourage adding soap to current hand rinsing practices.

Keywords: hand washing, mothers, under-five children, knowledge, attitude, practice.

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