Assessing mothers’ knowledge of prevention of diarrhoeal diseases among children under five years in Ahafo Ano South District of Ghana

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In the year 2005, there was an outbreak of cholera in the AASD of the Ashanti Region. The number of Out-Patient-Department cases in the district rose to a total of 684. Notwithstanding the various interventions, there was an increase to 690 in 2006. A study to assess mothers’ knowledge of prevention of diarrhoea diseases was conducted in the Ahafo Ano District of Ghana. A three-staged sampling strategy was used to select 300 respondents. This study showed that 58.3% of the respondents practised exclusive breast feeding; it exceeded the WHO recommendation (James, 2000). There were positive associations between mothers’ level of education and introduction of water, occupation and hand washing, and the level of education and the use of IEC on health issues (p < 0.05; OR=1.46). IEC was highly effective for feeding practices. The findings also showed that there was no significant association between occupation of mothers and introduction of water, however, 85.1% of the 121 respondents who served water to their babies before six months were self-employed. Significantly, 60.2% of the respondents were also adult mothers between 26 and 35 years who gave artificial feed to their children. This study showed that 44.7% and 1.3% of the respondents obtain drinking water from hand-dug wells and streams respectively. This revelation render support to WHO 2005 Report that indicated one billion people in the world cannot get access to safe drinking water and develop diarrhoea. 143 (47.7%) of the respondents mentioned that they sometimes wash their hands with soap and water before they breastfeed their babies. This confirms the results by Mensah and others in 2002. The study also revealed that 79.9% of those who do not wash their hands with soap and water were self-employed and 20.1% were public service employees (0dds ratio=1.4594), this shows a positive association between mother’s occupation and hand washing practices. Again, 39.3% of the respondents store water in wide-mouthed pots and buckets and the use of cups which are kept under unhygienic conditions. This can cause contamination. Significantly, there were no clear socio-cultural barriers to the use health information but farming and poverty affect mothers use of health information. In management of diarrhoea diseases, 26.0% mentioned the use of ORS and drugs; this confirms the WHO/UNICEF Report in 2008 that recommends the combination of ORS and oral zinc supplementation. It is recommended that more health staff should be retrain to manage diarrhoea cases, intensify and broaden its health education and promotion activities.
A Thesis submitted to the School of Graduate Studies, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi in partial fulfilment of requirement for the award of Degree in Msc. Health Education and Promotion.