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Knowledge, attitude and practice of hygiene and sanitation in a Burundian refugee camp: implications for control of a <i>Salmonella typhi</i> outbreak

Marie-Rosette Nahimana
Candide Tran Ngoc
Olushayo Olu
Jose Nyamusore
Ayodeji Isiaka
Vedaste Ndahindwa
Lakruwan Dassanayake
André Rusanganwa


Introduction: A Salmonella typhi outbreak was reported in a Burundian refugee camp in Rwanda in October 2015. Transmission persisted despite increased hygiene promotion activities and hand-washing facilities instituted to prevent and control the outbreak. A knowledge, attitude and practice (KAP) study was carried out to assess the effectiveness of ongoing typhoid fever preventive interventions.

Methods: A cross-sectional survey was conducted in Mahama Refugee Camp of Kirehe District, Rwanda from January to February 2016. Data were obtained through administration of a structured KAP questionnaire. Descriptive, bivariate and multivariate analysis was performed using STATA software.

Results: A total of 671 respondents comprising 264 (39.3%) males and 407 (60.7%) females were enrolled in the study. A comparison of hand washing practices before and after institution of prevention and control measures showed a 37% increase in the proportion of respondents who washed their hands before eating and after using the toilet (p < 0.001). About 52.8% of participants reported having heard about typhoid fever, however 25.9% had received health education. Only 34.6% and 38.6% of the respondents respectively knew how typhoid fever spreads and is prevented. Most respondents (98.2%) used pit latrines for disposal of feces. Long duration of stay in the camp, age over 35 years and being unemployed were statistically associated with poor hand washing practices.

Conclusion: The findings of this study underline the need for bolstering up health education and hygiene promotion activities in Mahama and other refugee camp settings.