Author Email: a.Hazazi@seu.edu.sa
Background: Lack of knowledge about personal hygiene and poor hygienic practices increases the burden of communicable diseases. Maintaining a good personal hygiene among children helps to improve the quality of life and also longevity. Therefore the objective of the current study is to assess the knowledge attitude and practices of personal hygiene and also to evaluate the relationship between knowledge attitude and practices. Methodology: This is a cross-sectional study conducted in selected schools in Abha City between December 2016-May 2017. Students from fourth, fifth and sixth classes were included in the study. A structured questionnaire was used to collect the data about knowledge attitude and practices of personal hygiene. Results: The study included 508 primary school children. More than 95% of the students were aware that the disease can spread from one person to another person. More than 90% of the students wash their hands with soap before and after eating and also after toilet. Only 71.7% of students brush their teeth twice daily. There was a positive linear correlation between the knowledge score with practice score and also attitude score with practice score. Conclusion: knowledge attitude and practices concerning personal hygiene among primary school children was satisfactory but still lacking in some aspects.
Most of the health problems affecting school students are preventable by promoting proper hygiene practices through family and adopting good health education. Hygiene is defined as the usual practices that are very much interrelated and required for maintaining the health and healthy living (1). The hygienic practices includes taking bath, washing hands, brushing teeth, using soap, brush, cutting nails and caring for gums (2). Hygiene is the discipline which deals about maintaining the health and it is a personal determinant of health which varies according one’s moral and practices. Personal hygiene is also influenced by various factors such as society, family and individual awareness and attitudes concerning hygiene (3). The burden of communicable diseases has been increased because of poor personal hygienic practices and it is considered to be one of the major public health concerns in developing countries (4). School children are more vulnerable because of lack of awareness and as a result of it tremendous increase in the incidence of communicable diseases (5, 6). School health is an important intervention which has a major effect on children’s health (7) and teachers play a dynamic role in teaching the children about the primordial prevention which chances their attitude and behavior towards personal hygiene. The school becomes the vital place for health promotion activities for children because of its supportive environment and also it is a place where the infectious diseases are likely to spread from one to another (8, 9). World health organization report says that 1.7 million deaths occur every year across the world due to lack of personal hygiene (10).
In developing countries acute respiratory infections and intestinal infections are the major reason for the childhood morbidity and mortality whereas diarrheal disease accounts for 12% of the deaths among under 5 year children in Egypt (11-13). Despite Saudi Arabia being a high income country the prevalence of parasitic infections and intestinal infections are quite high (14, 15). The study done in Saudi Arabia by Hamdan Ibrahim Al-Mohammed et al among the primary school children relieved that the prevalence of parasitic infection was 27.2% among the rural students and the logistic regression analysis found a positive correlation with poor personal hygienic practices (16). Several studies have demonstrated the connection between absence of diseases and good personal hygiene among primary school children and it also reduces the childhood morbidity and mortality due to infectious diseases (17, 18). Some other studies also reports that school children with good knowledge and practices are less likely to be absent in schools and more likely to succeed with higher grades (5, 19).
Therefore the current study aimed at assessing the knowledge, attitude and practices of the personal hygiene among the male primary school children in Abha, Saudi Arabia.
Primary school children knowledge attitude and practices towards personal hygiene was satisfactory but still deficient in some aspects. The study result shows a positive linear correlation between knowledge attitude and practices so there is a need for health education regarding personal hygiene for the school students for better awareness and developing a good attitude and behavior. Though this type of research has a limitation such as self-reported data and information bias; the findings of this study encourages addition research for creating awareness concerning personal hygiene. The study also provides a baseline data for future research.
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