Perception and practice of food hygiene and safety among youth and women of child-bearing age in Ikenne Local Government, Ogun State, South West, Nigeria: a qualitative study
Food borne diseases remain public health issue in the developing countries as outbreaks often result in devastating health and economic outcomes. The significant morbidity resulting from its toll on the socio-economic status of the country makes it imperative that an urgent need to stem the disease and prevent further transmission is proffered. Inappropriate knowledge and perception of the disease may perpetuate the disease condition. This study thus sets out to determine the level of awareness of causes of food borne disease and practices as they relate to food hygiene in a local government in Nigeria Focus group discussion involving only the available nine of the ten wards in Ikenne Local government area of Ogun State, Nigeria and Independent observation of food safety and hygienic practices in nine roadside eateries (one eatery in each of the available wards) in the local government were carried out. Data analysis was by systematic thematic analysis. The awareness of food borne diseases amongst the discussants was very limited. Perception about the means of transmission of these diseases was very poor. The following were mainly mentioned as diseases that could be acquired by eating food from street vendors; Cholera, typhoid, HIV/AIDS, others were malaria, epilepsy and asthma. Hygienic practices among the food handlers were generally poor. There was a huge knowledge gap on food safety and hygiene, food borne diseases and infectious diseases within the community. It is therefore recommended that an urgent programme of health education of the masses coupled with training of food handlers on Food Hygiene is embarked upon in the community.