EFFECTS OF OPEN DEFECATION ON HUMAN HEALTH

ABSTRACT
The effect of open defecation on human health is quite detrimental. The outbreak of cholera and diarrhea has become an annual epidemic in Sabon-Gari Local Government area of Kaduna State. This study therefore evaluate the health effect of open defecation and proposes better strategies for promoting behaviour change and healthy living. The study examines the attitude of the people towards the practice of open defecation, and identifies effective communication approaches that can improve environmental sanitation The targeted population is drawn from Bomo, Chikaji and Bassawa wards with a sample size of 400 respondents.The study identified house to house inspection, use of local announcer, health talk at various PHC centre, the use of mobile phones and radio as the communication approaches used by the Primary Healthcare in Sabon-Gari LGA in curbing open defecation. Based on the findings from this study, the communication strategies deployed by the Primary Healthcare in Sabon-Gari LGA are feeble, partially participatory and incapable of directing the people towards adopting a healthier lifestyle and people are not aware of polio as an open defecation related disease. Meanwhile, Kaduna is one of the six states where polio is currently endemic.The study therefore recommends that the Primary Healthcare Department of Sabon-Gari LGA should employ the use of multiple communication media with strong emphasis on alternative communication such as Community Festival, Theatre for Development and Community Led Total Sanitation that will target all categories of people and eventually lead to the adoption of healthy behaviour and drastic reduction of open defecation practice.


CHAPTER ONE
INTRODUCTION
1.0 Background to the Study
The United Nations Report (2014:2) states that, In sub-Saharan Africa where 25% of the
population practice open defecation, diarrhea becomes the third biggest killer of children under
five years old in such region. Studies estimated that a child dies every 2.5 minutes through
diarrhea. Children with diarrhea eat less and are less able to absorb the nutrients from their food
and these make them even more susceptible to bacteria related illnesses (Dittmer, 2009:6).

In addition, children that are most vulnerable to acute diarrhea also lack access to
potentially life-saving health services (UN, UNICEF&WHO, 2014). Agberemi (2014:1)
emphasized that No fewer than 49 million Nigerians still defecate openly. The high prevalence
of open defecation in Nigeria has implications for the general health, well-being and socio
economic development of its citizenry. Nigeria is ranked 4th in the world based on the prevalence
of open defecation practice.Although Nigeria has initially set a target date of 2018 for
eradication of open defecation, and this has now been shifted to 2025 for the total eradication of
open defecation (UN, UNICEF &WHO, 2016). Yet, sanitation coverage is currently around 40
percent and open defecation is widespread in most parts of the country but largely endemic in the
northern part of Nigeria. (Lyla Mehta, ID21, 2008:3 Water Aid, 2015:10).

More so, various factors are said to be responsible for the prevalence of open defecation
in Nigeria among which are poor communication, lack of proper education and over population.
Paramount among these factors is the poor communication campaign against this practice and
the inability of concerned agencies to achieve the eradication of open defecation in several
locations within the country. Also, many people do not have knowledge about the health dangers associated with open defecation. Other factors could include the unavailability of effectivPrimary Healthcare Centres and unhealthy cultural practices.

Communication is key and central to effective healthcare system. The ability to
communicate information and ideas effectively is increasingly recognized as critical to
the success of any healthcare system. Several media agencies including the Television, Radio,
Newspaper and alternative media such as Theatre for Development, Educational drama,
Entertainment Education and Social Media have been used to communicate several health issues.
However, these media are incapable of ameliorating pervasive health issues without the design of
effective communication messages. Effective communication is required for successful
interactions and campaign against open defecation among individuals, community people and
healthcare providers. The continued increase in the rate of open defecation poses greater
challenge to peoples health. This challenge is further exacerbated by health care professionals
who may lack the ability to communicate effectively (Schwartz, F., Lowe, M. and Sinclair, L.,
2010).

Communication is a major player to achievepositive health outcomes. Most effective
health care delivery system recorded in several literatures has been attributed to effective
communication strategies. The success recorded by the Nigerian government over the Ebola
outbreak was primarily as a result of the use of multiple communication strategies, channels and
media. For the youth, social media helped a great deal; for adults and people in the urban areas,
the newspaper and television served effectively; and for the people at the grassroots level, the
radio, town criers, interpersonal communication and advocacy visits assisted in message
dissemination. Kreps et al (1998) maintained that communication is essential in creating,
gathering and sharing health information. This means that if people must change their attitudes,
practices and adopt a healthier life style, then communication is inevitable. There is a pressing
need for awareness and sensitization on the prevalence of open defecation and related practices
so that people can make better choices that will enhance their health and environment.

This researcher is aware of governmental, non-governmental and international agencies
that have carried out several campaigns, health talks, sensitization and awareness on the health dangers associated with open defecation in Nigeria. However, the efforts of most of these agencieespecially were merely geared towards giving information on peoples unhealthy attitude anproposing practices that can promote healthy living.
Among the organizations involved in the campaign are UNICEF, Water Aid, WHO, State
Water and the Disease Control and Prevention Unit of the Primary Healthcare at the Local
Government Area (LGA) level across Nigeria, to mention a few. UNICEF in collaboration with
State Water and Sanitation Department is committedly working towards achieving an open
defecation free country through the use of Community-Led Total Sanitation (CLTS) approach.
CLTS is a new participatory approach to trigger large-scale community action to improve
sanitation. It was first piloted in Bangladesh in 1999 by an Indian consultant, Kamal Kar, who
found it highly urgent to mobilize communities in order to completely eliminate open defecation
(OD) by building household toilets. CLTS quickly spread to other parts of Asia and to Africa
where it has been taken up with enthusiasm (Kidd, 2013:197).

1.1 Statement of the Research Problem
Open defecation remains a critical global health challenge which is reported to affect
almost 1 billion people around the world. It is estimated that 842,000 people die each year
because of poor sanitation and hygiene practices and unsafe water supplies (Devine, 2016:3).
One of the major consequences of open defecation is diarrhea. Diarrhea is sanitation and hygiene
related disease and the second main cause of infant mortality after malaria and the main cause of
child under-five mortality rate in Nigeria. Open defecation practice is prevalent among
developing countries like Nepal, Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, and some African countries like
Malawi, Kenya, Uganda, Gambia, Cameroun, Nigeria among others.

The effect of open defecation on human health is quite detrimental. The outbreak of
cholera and diarrhea has become an annual epidemic in Sabon-Gari Local Government Area of
Kaduna State and Nigeria. Various factors are said to be responsible for the prevalence of open
defecation in Nigeria among which are poor communication, inadequate facilities, lack of proper
education and over population. Paramount among these factors is the poor communication

1.3 Objectives of the Study
The study has the following objectives:

1. To examine the attitude of the Sabon-Gari LGA people towards the practice of open defecation.

2. To establish the level of peoples awareness about the health dangers associated with open defecation.

3. To identify the communication approaches deployed by the Primary Healthcare Department of
Sabon-Gari Local Government Area of Kaduna State in tackling open defecation.

1.4 Research Questions
1.         What are the attitudes of people towards open defecation practice in Sabon-Gari Local
Government?
2.         What he level of peoples‘ awareness about the health dangers associated with open defecation?
3.         What are the communication strategies deployed by the Primary healthcare department of
Sabon-Gari LGA of Kaduna State in tackling open defecation?
4.         How effective are these communication strategies in the campaign against open

1.5 Justification for the Study
Currently, government and non-governmental organizations in Nigeria have increased
their campaign against open defecation in order to avoid several diseases and out-break, which
leads to increase in maternal and child mortality rates. This is exceptionally important for the
extreme poor and less privileged populations that majorly practice open defecation. This study is
therefore significant because the eradication of open defecation within Sabon-Gari Local
Government Area will bring about healthy living, reduce child mortality rate, eliminate outbreak
and increase the life span of the people. It will also drastically reduce government expenditure on
health. More so, the study will add to the existing scholarly literatures on open defecation and
communication in relation to primary healthcare delivery.

1.6 Scope of the Study
This study evaluates the Primary Healthcare Department of Sabon-Gari Local
Government Area of Kaduna State which consists of six departments. This study is restricted to
the Disease Prevention and Control Unit which has seven health offices that are responsible for
communicating health issues.

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Item Type: Project Material  |  Attribute: 75 pages  |  Chapters: 1-5
Format: MS Word  |  Price: N3,000  |  Delivery: Within 30Mins.
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