Environmental conditions in displaced communities of Khartoum State, Sudan
Inadequate environmental sanitation has been recognized as a public health hazard worldwide. Nearly one quarter of all deaths and of the total disease burden and slightly more than one-third for children can be attributed to the changes and degradation of the environment. This study examined the environmental conditions of the displaced communities in Khartoum State, Sudan. A community-based descriptive, cross-sectional survey design was used for a population of 726,989 inhabitants of the Displaced communities in Khartoum State. Multi-stage cluster sampling was used in selecting 662 households in these communities and a structured questionnaire was used for data collection. Data were analyzed using frequencies, percentages, Chi-square test and multiple logistic regressions. Results showed that protected dug wells and tap water were the major sources of water supply in the study area, usually transferred to the house by cart and almost all was not treated. The major source of toilet facilities was traditional pit latrine and more than one-fifth of the populations share common latrines. More than one-third of the families had animals inside their housing. Almost half of the families were disposing their rubbish in collection areas far from housing followed by burning of rubbish, which had been used by more than one-third of them. More than one-fifth of the households’ preschool children (21.3%) had diarrhea. A result of multiple logistic regressions showed that, time of hand washing (when to wash hand) was independently predictive for diarrhea among the households’ preschool children (B = 0.005, Wald test = 6.758, p=0.009). It can therefore, be concluded that the environmental conditions including access to improved sources of water and hygienic latrines in these communities were accepted, although there were still some negative environmental practices, which can affect the safety of water and promote diseases spread. Bad hygienic practice was prevalent and led to high rates of diarrhea among the households’ children. Therefore, to improve the environmental conditions in these communities, authorities should establish and enforce a more healthy environmental conditions approach and health promotion activities to improve the hygienic practice.
Key words: Displaced communities, Khartoum State, environmental conditions, hygienic practice and diarrhea.