Knowledge, attitude and practice of handwashing with soap in a rural community in north western Nigeria
Background: Hand washing is considered as one of the most effective hygiene promotion activities for public health in developing countries. Handwashing with soap (HWWS) has been found to be more effective in removing germs than handwashing with water alone and yet handwashing with soap is seldom practiced.
Methods: A cross-sectional descriptive study was conducted to determine the knowledge, attitude and practice of handwashing with soap among 217 mothers of children under the age of five in a rural community of a developing country.
Results: Majority of the respondents (59.4%) had inadequate knowledge of HWWS but most of them had a positive attitude towards it (99.1%). A majority (85.7%) of them reported washing their hands with soap within 24 hours preceding the study. However, Only 38.2% did so before feeding a child or after cleaning a child's buttocks (41.9%). There was a statistically significant association between mother's level of education and her knowledge level of hand washing with soap (P=0.007).
Conclusion: Findings from this study revealed inadequate knowledge of HWWS among respondents. Its practice was abysmally low during care of under-fives. There is need for the Local Government Authority in the study area to put in place strategies, such as health education, that will promote and increase the practice of hand washing with soap especially before feeding a child and after cleaning the buttocks of a child that has defecated.
Keywords: Knowledge, attitude, practice, hand washing, under-five year children