Sanitation is fundamental to the prevention and control of communicable diseases and maintaining good health. Many communicable diseases of public health importance, which affect University Students (SSS), are caused by poor Sanitation. Despite awareness of sanitation in Nigeria, there is the need to identify the level of practice by SSS. This study was therefore designed to determine the knowledge, perception and practices of sanitation among Students in Niger Delta University.

A cross-sectional study design was used. Students in Niger Delta University were stratified and 26 students were selected through simple random sampling. Systematic random sampling was used in selecting 476 respondents out of 724 students. An interviewer administered semi-structured questionnaire, which included a 28 knowledge, 9 perception, and 31 practice scales, was used for data collection. Knowledge scores of ≤ 10, > 10 to < 20 and ≥ 20 were rated as poor, fair and good respectively. Perception scores of > 4 were classified as positive while practice scores of > 15 were rated as good. Two different sets of observational checklists were used to assess respondents‘ physical appearance, classrooms and the schools‘ environment. Data were analysed using descriptive statistics and Chi-square test at 5% level of significance.

Respondent‘s mean age was 13.9±2.0, 55.7% were females and 60.3% were in PJSS. Mean knowledge, perception and practice scores were 17.8±3.9, 5.8±2.1 and 15.4±4.7 respectively. Respondents with poor, fair and good knowledge in PJSS were 4.9%, 80.1% and 15.0%, while those in the PSSS were 0.5%, 56.1% and 43.4% respectively. Majority (72.9%) had positive perception of PH, 48.8% of the respondents in PJSS and 54.0% in PSSS engaged in good practices. The opinion of 45.6% was that hand washing with clean water alone was enough to make hands free of germs. Bad Sanitation practices among respondents included sharing of bathing sponge with others (73.8%), cutting of fingernails with teeth (40.3%) and cleaning of nostrils with fingers (31.5%). Significantly more respondents (66.4%) with good knowledge of sanitation engaged in good Sanitation practices compared to those with poor knowledge that engaged in good Sanitation practices (46.7%) with P-value of 0.01. Also more respondents (58.0%) with positive perception engaged in good practices, than 33.3% with negative perception who engaged in good Sanitation practices. Majority (62.0%) of the observed respondents had neatly combed hair, 87.1% had clean teeth, 98.0% had foot had dug wells needed to address the challenges.

1.1 Background to the study
Lord Quick (2013) defined hygiene as the study and practice of preventing illness or stopping it from spreading, by keeping things clean.The concept also refers to the set of practices associated with the preservation of health and healthy living. It is a concept related to medicine as well as to sanitation, professional care and practices affecting most aspects of living; although it is most often associated with disease preventive measures. Hygiene can also be referred to as the science that deals with the promotion of health (Victoria State, Department of Health, 2015).

Sanitation can be described as the principle of maintaining cleanliness and grooming of the external body (Johnson, 2015). Sanitation refers to all activities, actions and practices carried out by an individual to keep the body clean and healthy. There are so many benefits attached to sanitation such as prevention of diseases, quick recovery from illnesses, social acceptance by people, emotional satisfaction and good sanitation appearance. Sanitation is the first step to good grooming and good health and this involves all measures taken by individuals to preserve his or her health (Johnson, 2015). Improved standard of hygiene will prevent health problems like dandruff, athletes foot, body odour, pin worms, excessive ear wax, gastro-intestinal diseases ( Web Health Centre, 2015).

Sanitation can also be described as taking care of every part of the body including hands, legs, teeth, ears, hair, eyes and nose. People stay healthy or become ill often as a result of their own actions or behaviours (Leonard, 2014). Some examples of people‘s action or behaviours that can cause diseases are: ‗not washing hands before eating, defecating anywhere on the open field, not washing hands after defecating, not washing clothes regularly and when necessary, not cleaning the mouth properly with the right materials (Adeniyi, 1994). Sanitation pertains to hygienic practices performed by the individual to care for one‘s bodily health and well-being through cleanliness.Attention to sanitation will help a person look their best, feel their best and can help in avoiding diseases.Motivations for sanitation practice include reduction of sanitation illness, healing from sanitation illness, optimal health and sense of well-being, social acceptance and prevention of spread of illness to others. An individual‘s sanitationity can be impaired by his failure to give proper care and attention to his body generally (Johnson, 2015).

Good grooming implies decent clothing, well-kept hair, clean teeth, fresh breadth, clean skin, and well-manicured nails. All these minute details about a person‘s body add up to his level of physical health and sense of well-being. One of the most effective ways of someone getting protected from illness is good sanitation (Lucas and Gilles, 2012). This entails washing hands, body, taking good care of your ears, eyes, teeth, nails, feet and other aspects of your body. It also involves taking care of sanitation effects. Good looks are usually the result of great care and attention paid to sanitation. There are some materials that people generally share with others which may be detrimental to health; such materials include hair clippers, manicure and pedicure kits. It is important for students to be aware of this and take necessary precautions.

Engaging in some very basic PH measures could help prevent coughs and colds from being passed from person to person. Social aspects could be affected, as many people will choose to avoid someone who has bad PH than tell him/her how to improve (Hygiene Expert, 2015). Sanitation is sanitation, each individual has ways of taking care of his body, however this should not differ too much from what is generally acceptable worldwide. Hygienic practices vary widely and what is considered acceptable in one culture might not be acceptable in another. An example is the use of chewing sticks in cleaning teeth, which is peculiar to some African countries.

Cases of cholera had been estimated as 3 million yearly (WHO, 2014) and 500 million people are at risk of suffering from blindness from trachoma globally (Centre for disease control, (CDC), 2009). The estimated prevalence of ascariasis was 25% globally (Haburchark, 2014). Sanitation is among the risk factors for contacting the infections among others. Good sanitation in relation to preventing epidemics or even pandemic outbreaks is very significant (Lucas and Gilles, 2012). In Nigeria, five common health problems of students are fever / typhoid (56%), headache (43%), stomach ache (29%), cough /catarrh (38%) and malaria (40%) (Federal Ministry of Education, (FMOE) 2006). 30% of students have low Body Mass Index (BMI), 0.2% of students have lice on their heads, 3% of students have skin rashes, about 20% of students do not have normal visual acuity, lip sores were observed in 0.8% and 0.5% of the primary and University students respectively, dental plaque was observed in more than 10% of students , 0.4% of students have sores on their tongue, about 19% of students do not have normal hearing (FMOE, 2006,).

The population to be used for this study is University students who are mostly adolescents. The age of University students differs from country to country. It is commonly considered to be between 12-17 years of age (UNICEF, 2015). According to World Health Organization (WHO, 2014), adolescents are grouped as individuals between 10 – 19 years, therefore majority of secondary students are adolescents. They constitute about 1.2 billion (20%) of the world‘s population (UNICEF, 2015). In their childhood years, they ought to have been trained on healthy practices and by the time they get to the University, they should have formed their own sanitation hygienic habits. Adolescent‘s health needs and concerns can be met through the school by educating and empowering students to improve their practices on health. The government, parents, teachers and the students themselves all have different roles to play in promoting sanitation.

A fundamental step in promoting sanitation among students is to first of all carry out a needs assessment relating to their knowledge, perception and sanitation related practices which can be relied upon as baseline information for action. Herein lays the basis and import of this study.

1.2 Statement of the problem
So many gastro intestinal diseases like diarrhoea, dysentery, typhoid and cholera can be prevented through sanitation (Lucas and Gilles, 2012). Other conditions that can be prevented through sanitation include head lice, dandruff, bad breadth, dental caries, dental calculus, ear wax accumulation, body odour, excessive perspiration, urinary tract infections, pin worms, impetigo, boil, ringworm, allergic reactions, body louse, ticks, black hairy tongue, trachoma, cystitis thrush, colds, helminthic infestations and athletes foot (Lucas and Gilles, 2012).

In the past, there was regular inspection of students which is no longer a common practice (Olaseha, Sridhar and Babatola, 2003). Other barriers to control infectious diseases in the hostel include inadequate sanitation, lack of knowledge about the biology and ecology of some microbiology causing the diseases (Abdulumin, 1993). The enabling conditions for improving the sanitation of students are not available in some instances.Trachoma can be prevented by improving sanitation, reducing the breeding sites of flies and teaching children to wash their faces with clean water. Trachoma caused by microscopic Chlamydia trachomatis remains the leading cause of preventable blindness — with an estimated 6 million people suffering loss of sight and 146 million acute cases worldwide (WHO, 2015).

There is the need to get information on the areas where the adolescents are having problems with their PH. Some students are involved in bad habits like nail biting, sneezing without covering their mouth, washing hands only with water after leaving the toilet and cleaning their ears with hair pins. There is dearth of information on the present facilities that will make the students observe their sanitation properly (The Nigerian Child, 2007).

Not many studies have been carried out holistically on the sanitation practice of students in Nigeria; this research work is therefore designed to focus on the knowledge, perceptions and practices of sanitation among secondary students in Yenagoa LG Area.

1.3 Research questions
1. What is the level of knowledge of students on sanitation?

2. What is the perception of students on sanitation?

3. What are the sanitation practices of the students?

4. What are the facilities in the home that can promote the sanitation of students?

5. What are the facilities in the school that can promote the practice of sanitation hygiene among students?

6. What are the factors affecting the sanitation of students?

1.4 Broad objective
The broad objective of the study was to investigate the University students‘ knowledge, perception and practices relating to sanitation in Niger Delta University.

Specific objectives
The specific objectives that guided the design of thisstudy were to;

1. Assess respondents‘ knowledge on sanitation.

2. Describe respondents‘ perception relating to sanitation.

3. Report respondents‘ practices relating to sanitation.

4. Identify factors that can influence students‘ practice of sanitation.

5. Appraise the facilities in schools that can influence students‘ practice of sanitation.

6. Describe the facilities in the respondent‘s homes that can influence their practice of sanitation.

1.5 Significance of the study
The result of the study will be useful, as baseline information in the design of educational interventions aimed at equipping University students with knowledge and skills for taking responsibilities for their sanitation. Sanitation is comprehensive; embracing the care of all the parts of the body, therefore carrying out this study will provide a platform for improving the School Health Education Programmes for Universitys in Nigeria.The findings from this study will also be useful in carrying out well planned, implemented and evaluated School Health Programmes with sanitation integrated into all the stages. The outcome of the study will also be a useful tool in promoting team work when carrying out intervention programmes on health in Universities.

Furthermore, the outcome of the study will reveal gaps in knowledge as well as inappropriate practices and perceptions which further research could be used to explore. Such an exploration will have an ultimate goal of generating adequate information overtime for guiding evidence based policy formulation relating to sanitation in school settings.

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Item Type: Project Material  |  Size: 35 pages  |  Chapters: 1-5
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