AN ASSESSMENT OF PERSONAL AND ENVIRONMENTAL HYGIENE IN THE TRANSMISSION OF COMMUNICABLE DISEASES
1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
Akerman (2001) defines personal hygiene as “practices that an individual engages in to maintain their body health and well-being via cleanliness.” While many people equate hygiene with “cleanliness,” hygiene is a wide concept that incorporates personal behaviors such as how regularly one should bathe, wash their hands, trim their fingernails, and change their wardrobe. Includes maintaining a pathogen-free environment. Personal hygiene refers to the cleanliness of our body, teeth, hair, clothing, and genital region. It is one of the mechanisms through which disease transmission cycles are broken. Additionally, it enables the person to have a positive aesthetic worth in the eyes of the others with whom he or she interacts (Beneson 1995). Additionally, it is a favorable number for a healthier lifestyle.
Thus, personal hygiene is a step adopted on an individual level to enhance personal cleanliness in order to avoid disease transmission from source to susceptible hosts. It is considered to be the most effective method of safeguarding the health of populations with limited treatment choices owing to a lack of health care delivery networks. Numerous health issues are caused by inadequate hygiene habits. The majority of which are communicable diseases. When personal hygiene is practiced correctly, it translates into environmental hygiene (Beneson 1995).
Hygiene and cleanliness were highly valued throughout the Greek, Roman, and Egyptian civilizations. The use of private and public baths and latrines, body cleansing, shaving the head to avoid lice infestation, and installation of water pipes and sewage ditches were all extensively observed. Schistosomiasis (bilharzia) transmission has been connected to bathing and swimming in the Nile River. Personal hygiene (hygiene) and human waste management were prioritized in these civilisations (sanitation).
According to Altekruse et al. (2001), a communicable disease is an illness caused by the transmission of an infectious agent or a toxic product from an infected person, animal, or reservoir to a susceptible host, either directly or indirectly via an intermediate plant or animal host, vector, or environment. Additionally, it may be described as an infection caused by a particular infectious agent or its toxic products that occurs as a result of the agent or its toxic products being transmitted from an infected human, animal, or inanimate reservoir to a susceptible host. Transmission may occur directly between people or through an intermediary plant or animal host, vector, or inanimate environment.
Infectious disease’s capacity to disrupt or kill human life persists today, particularly in low-income nations, but may also pose major issues in high-income ones. This hazard may grow when infectious diseases evolve and gain resistance to currently known human control mechanisms. The spread of the plague over Europe and Asia in the fourteenth century killed and devastated an estimated one-third to half of Europe’s population, and has long been ingrained in the western world’s folk culture (Huntingdon 2002). The Spanish (swine) influenza pandemic of 1918–1919 may have killed up to one-third of the world’s population. It was very severe, with a case fatality rate of more than 2.5 percent, particularly among young adults, killing between 50 and 100 million people and killing more young men than World War I. (Tautenberger, 2006).
Pandemics such as smallpox, TB, syphilis, measles, cholera, and influenza have highlighted infectious diseases’ explosive potential and epidemic nature. Other of these diseases have been brought under control, and some may be eliminated as public health concerns. Despite this, new and recurrent communicable diseases continue to emerge. As Huntingdon (2002) notes, controlling communicable diseases is a primary responsibility of public health. AIDS’ expansion in the 1980s, the cholera epidemics in Asia, Africa, and South America, diphtheria in the former Soviet Union, measles in Western Europe in 2010, and diphtheria and pertussis outbreaks in a number of western nations in 2011–2013 all serve as reminders.
Numerous discoveries made throughout the nineteenth century aided in the knowledge of communicable diseases. For example, in 1854, John Snow discovered that contaminated water caused cholera; in 1845, Dr. Semmelweis discovered the importance of hand-washing before attending a child’s birth; and around this time, Louis Pasteur discovered that microorganisms (extremely small organisms that can only be seen through a microscope) cause disease.
Personal and environmental hygiene have been found to be useful in controlling communicable diseases.
While hygiene and infection control are critical components of environmental health, it is also prudent to be aware of growing challenges such as global warming and the linkages between medical disorders such as heart disease and our environment and lifestyles. Everything that surrounds us constitutes our environment. It encompasses all external influences and circumstances that may have an effect on our health, life, and progress. These influences are dynamic, and their implications on our health may be difficult to predict (Jacob 1998).
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
A communicable disease epidemic or outbreak happens when the number of persons infected with a certain illness exceeds the typical number. According to anecdotal evidence, mankind have attempted to control infectious diseases that have arisen across time. The majority of international organizations, such as the World Health Organization, have undertaken campaigns and initiatives to promote awareness and prevent communicable diseases. Humans have long been recognized as the primary agents of communicable disease, owing to their mobility (Rooke, 2012).
Due to the absence of universal conversion requirements for these vehicles, or the lack of adherence and enforcement of those that do exist, cars with poorly constructed windows and insufficient seating capacity and layout have been produced. This results in insufficient ventilation and overcrowding in these vehicles, which may aid in the spread of infectious diseases. This issue is aggravated by certain autos’ unclean interiors (Garrett-Jones 2000). Additionally, when air-conditioned buses are used, there is a danger of communicable disease transmission due to the absence of an adequate ventilation system comparable to that found on aircraft. Additionally, people’s lack of hygiene on public transportation (e.g., coughing or sneezing without covering their mouth and nose, and openly spitting while in a vehicle) has the potential to contribute to the spread of infectious diseases across society (Jetten, Focks 1998).
Despite these concerns, little research has been conducted on techniques for limiting the spread of infectious diseases in Nigeria. In Nigeria, environmental hygiene and sanitation are at an all-time low, with streets cluttered with garbage, open defecation, and inadequate public sanitation. Recent outbreaks of cholera and meningitis in Ghana, as well as Ebola in surrounding African countries, underscore the critical need for research that document current practices and techniques of addressing the issue (Wale, 2015). As a consequence, this research tried to fill a void by focusing on the role of personal and environmental hygiene in communicable disease transmission.
1.3 OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
The primary objective of this study is to examine personal and environmental hygiene in the transmission of communicable diseases. Specifically, this study seeks to:
- Determine the prevalence of communicable diseases in Kabba.
- Determine whether poor sanitation practices contribute to the prevalence of communicable diseases in Kabba.
- Identify the ways through which communicable diseases are transmitted in Kabba.
- Determine whether effective personal and environmental hygiene practices mitigate the transmission of communicable diseases in Kabba.
- Identify factors affecting effective personal and environmental hygiene practices in Kabba.
1.4 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
The following research questions will guide this study:
- Are communicable diseases prevalent in Kabba?
- Does poor sanitation practices contribute to the prevalence of communicable diseases in Kabba?
- What are the ways through which communicable diseases are transmitted in Kabba?
- Does effective personal and environmental hygiene practices mitigate the transmission of communicable diseases in Kabba?
- What are the factors affecting effective personal and environmental hygiene practices in Kabba?
1.5 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
The results of this study have the potential to help relevant agencies in creating and enhancing infection prevention and control best practices. Additionally, the research sought to find other subtle techniques, which may go unnoticed, through which infectious diseases might be acquired in the population. This would serve as a warning to the public, enabling them to take precautionary measures. Additionally, the results may aid policymakers in developing new legislation and reevaluating existing ones aimed at minimizing disease transmission in public areas and increasing public awareness about environmental cleanliness. Finally, this research will add to the expanding body of information about the role of personal and environmental hygiene in communicable disease transmission.
1.6 SCOPE OF THE STUDY
This study will be focused on determining the prevalence of communicable diseases in Kabba, determining whether poor sanitation practices contribute to the prevalence of communicable diseases in Kabba, identifying the ways through which communicable diseases are transmitted in Kabba, determining whether effective personal and environmental hygiene practices mitigate the transmission of communicable diseases in Kabba and identifying factors affecting effective personal and environmental hygiene practices in Kabba.
Selected residents of Kabba in Kogi State will serve as participants for the survey of this study.
1.7 LIMITATIONS OF THE PROBLEM
As with any human endeavor, the researcher experienced small impediments while performing the study. Due to the scarcity of literature on the subject as a result of the discourse’s nature, the researcher incurred additional financial expenses and spent additional time sourcing for relevant materials, literature, or information, as well as during the data collection process, which is why the researcher chose a small sample size. Additionally, the researcher conducted this inquiry in conjunction with other scholarly pursuits. Additionally, because only a small number of respondents were chosen to complete the research instrument, the results cannot be applied to other secondary schools outside the state. Regardless of the limits faced throughout the investigation, all aspects were reduced to ensure the best outcomes and the most productive research.
1.8 DEFINITION OF TERMS
Hygiene: Hygiene is a series of practices performed to preserve health. According to the World Health Organization, “Hygiene refers to conditions and practices that help to maintain health and prevent the spread of diseases.” Personal hygiene refers to maintaining the body’s cleanliness.
Transmission: The action or process of transmitting something, or the state of being transmitted.
Communicable diseases: Communicable diseases, also known as infectious diseases or transmissible diseases, are illnesses that result from the infection, presence and growth of pathogenic (capable of causing disease) biologic agents in an individual human or other animal host.