Safe hygiene practices in a rural municipality of the Eastern Cape, South Africa
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Background: Unsafe hygiene practices have negative effects on health, economy, and environment. Objective: To explore success factors and constraints in adopting safe hygiene practices as well as perceived target groups for promotion of safe hygiene practices and hygiene promotion techniques that communities can employ to ensure adoption of safe hygiene practices.
Methods: A purposive sample of 494 villagers was randomly selected from 14 communities in rural municipality of the Eastern Cape, South Africa. Over 50% were 26-50 years, male, married, employed and had secondary education. Data was collected through a structured questionnaire.
Results: Success factors and constraints in adoption of safe hygiene practices were categorised as physical, social, economic, structural, educational and cultural. Promotion of safe hygiene practices was perceived as everybody's responsibility. Indigenous and conventional hygiene promotion techniques identified included media, bill boards, word of mouth, radio talk shows, awareness campaigns, competitions, dramas, school programmes, home-produced posters and pamphlets.
Conclusion: The adoption of safe hygienic practices affects and is affected by, a wide range of issues which require strategic interventions. Therefore a holistic, integrated and inclusive approach is needed to ensure adoption of safe hygienic practices. The results have implications for policy-makers, programme planners, academics and practitioners in the field.
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