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Year : 2001  |  Volume : 6  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 113-115

Maternal hygiene behaviour and socioeconomic status as predictors of childhood diarrhoea in Nigeria

Department of Community Medicine, University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital, Enugu, Nigeria

Correspondence Address:
Chika N Onwasigwe
Department of Community Medicine, University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital, Enugu
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

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Aims and Objectives: To assess the influence of maternal hygiene practices, educational level and socio-economic status on the occurrence of childhood diarrhoea in Enugu. Materials and Methods: A cross-sectional study of 364 women who brought their children for routine immunization to 4 health institutions in Enugu, was carried out with the help of a self-administered structured questionnaire and guided oral interviews. Results: The ages of the subjects ranged from 17 to 40 years (mean = 26.9 years with standard deviation 4.6). Sixty-seven children aged below 5 years of the 364 women had at least one episode of diarrhoea in the last 24 hours, given a prevalence of 18.4%. More episodes of diarrhoea (20.3%) were recorded in children whose mothers irregularly washed their hands before preparing food, compared with those whose mothers always did so (18.9%). The rate of diarrhoea was also higher (19.5%) in the children of mothers that did not always wash their hands after going to the toilet, compared with those who regularly did so (18.3%). The highest rate of diarrhoea (25.0%) was recorded in children whose mothers had no formal education while the least rate (16.3%) was observed in those whose mothers attained post-secondary education. More cases of diarrhoea (19.5%) were also noted in children of low socio-economic class compared with the others. Conclusion: Health education interventions and mass literacy campaigns are advocated in order to improve maternal hygiene behaviour.

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