The cholera epidemic of 2000/2001 in KwaZulu-Natal: Implications for health promotion and education
This study was a cross-sectional, descriptive and comparative study conducted in the province of KwaZulu-Natal in the months of November and December 2001 in order to make a comparison between health districts stricken with cholera and districts not stricken with cholera with regards to well-known risk factors for cholera. Random samples of 979 and 441 participants were drawn from health districts that were not stricken with cholera and health districts that were stricken with cholera respectively. The two groups of participants in the study had similar distributions of age, gender and literacy rate. Out of the 979 people that were not stricken with cholera, 72% of them had access to tap water, 10% owned water tankers, 10% used dam or river water, 50% knew how to purify water by use of disinfectants such as JIK, 75% practised boiling drinking water, 70% used protected toilets. Out of the 441 people that were stricken with cholera, 54% of them had access to tap water, 3% owned water tankers, 38% used dam or river water, 38% knew how to purify water by use of disinfectants such as JIK, 66% practised boiling drinking water, 51% used protected toilets. Results from the binary logistic regression analysis showed that cholera sickness was significantly influenced by failure to boil drinking water, lack of knowledge of water purification methods, lack of access to tap water, as well as failure to practice proper personal hygiene. A recommendation is made to implement health promotion and education programmes in health districts stricken with cholera using primary health care principles and community-based approaches.
Keywords: cholera sickness; safe water; risk factor; odds ratio
Health SA Gesondheid Vol. 10 (4) 2005: pp. 66-74
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