Hygiene behaviour and associated factors among in-school adolescents in nine African countries
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Background: This report examines hygiene behaviour and associated factors among 13-15 year old in-school adolescents in nine African countries. Purpose: The total sample included 25,760 school children aged 13-15 years from nationally representative samples from nine African countries. Method: We examined the prevalence of and relationship between tooth brushing, hand washing before eating, hand washing after toileting, hand washing with soap and a range of psychosocial factors such as socio-demographic characteristics, health behaviour, mental health or well-being and protective factors. Results: Overall, sub-optimal hygiene behaviour was reported, the proportions of school children reporting optimal (>once a day) tooth brushing (77.3%) was higher than the proportions reported for washing their hands regularly before meals (62.2%), after toileting (58.4%) and washing their hands with soap (35.0%). In multivariate analysis higher education, health-enhancing behaviours such as daily fruits or vegetable
consumption, and protective factors such as caregiver supervision were associated with tooth brushing, hand washing
before meals, hand washing after toileting and washing of hands with soap. Conclusion: The cross-national data on hygiene behaviour from nine African countries found sub-optimal hygiene behaviour. Various determinants of optimal hygiene behaviour
were identified that can guide programmes to improve hygiene behaviour of this adolescent population.