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South African Journal of Child Health

versão On-line ISSN 1999-7671
versão impressa ISSN 1994-3032


NSELE, N M  e  MCKERROW, N H. A study of self-reported handwashing practices of caregivers in relation to acute respiratory infections and gastroenteritis in infants in a peri-urban community in KwaZulu-Natal Province, South Africa. S. Afr. j. child health [online]. 2019, vol.13, n.1, pp.23-26. ISSN 1999-7671.

BACKGROUND: Handwashing is a recognised cost-effective intervention for the prevention of common childhood infections, including pneumonia and diarrhoeal disease. Globally, handwashing practices may be poor and little is known about handwashing practices in South Africa OBJECTIVES: To describe and compare handwashing practises of caregivers whose infants are admitted with acute gastroenteritis and acute lower respiratory tract infection with those of healthy infants who are attending primary healthcare clinics for routine immunisation METHODS: A cross-sectional study of self-reported handwashing practices was conducted among caregivers of infants from the Vulindlela area, Pietermaritzburg. Respondents were interviewed regarding household structure, services and handwashing practices RESULTS: During the 3-month study period, 137 respondents were interviewed. Of these, 41 (30%) had infants with pneumonia, 41 (30%) with diarrhoea and 55 (40%) had healthy infants. A high rate of handwashing with soap and water (81.8%) was found in this study, with 58.4% of the respondents using running rather than stagnant water. Logistic regression identified some variables associated with higher odds of having a healthy infant, namely: a monthly household income >ZAR2 000 (odds ratio (OR) 4.74; 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.99 - 11.25); washing hands with soap and running water (OR 3.88; 95% CI 1.55 - 9.76); washing hands before eating (OR 7.41; 95% CI 0.79 - 68.76), and washing hands after household chores (OR 9.24; 95% CI 1.85 - 46.25 CONCLUSION: A higher than anticipated number of participants washed their hands with soap and running water and at critical moments

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