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PERSONAL HYGIENE AND ACADEMIC ACHIEVEMENT. A CASE STUDY OF SECONDARY SCHOOL STUDENTS IN YENAGOA LGA
1.1 Background of the study
Personal hygiene is an important global public health issue since long. Hygiene refers to practices
associated with ensuring good health and cleanliness. Personal hygiene is the practice of maintaining cleanliness of ones own body. Good hygienic care as well as practices in terms of personal hygiene contributes to a large extent on factors relating to healthful living and prevention of hazards from diseases. These health risk factors are directly related to some important daily activities implicated with worthy operational actions and obligatory responsibilities, such as washing hands before meals and after defeacation with soap, brushing teeth at least twice a day specially after breakfast and after meals, taking bath with soap regularly, keeping nails short and taking regular exercise (Ali et al, 2013).
It is estimated that unsafe water, and lack of sanitation and hygiene every year claim lives of more
than 1.5 million under five children from diarrhea (Mukherjee et al, 2014). Poor hygiene behaviour is a major problem in developing countries (Van Wijk et al, 2003). Hygiene and sanitation related diseases are a huge burden in developing countries; causing many people to fall ill even to die (UNICEF, 1998). A large fraction of the world’s illness and death is attributable to communicable diseases. Sixty- two percent and 31% of all deaths in Africa and Southeast Asia respectively are caused by infectious disease. This trend is especially notable in developing countries where acute respiratory and intestinal infections are the primary causes of morbidity and mortality among young children. Inadequate sanitary conditions and poor hygiene practices play major roles in the increased burden of communicable disease within these developing countries. The morbidities arising due to
poor personal hygiene practices are more evident in the slum areas because of high population density, spread of respiratory infection, inadequate water supply, lack of sanitary facility, diarrhea and warm infestation, inadequate nutrition leading to anemia, malnutrition and vitamin deficiency (Raghava, 2005). Education must be provided to increase the level of knowledge. Schools are acknowledged as important places for developing health promotion and influencing health-related behaviours (Haaple et al, 2004; Moon et al, 1999; Sidebottom, 1995), including hygiene-related behaviours. Once habits are established in adolescence, they tend to be long-lasting and difficult to alter in adulthood (Wills et al, 2005). Thus, children educated in an effective way whilst at school may become adults who observe good hygiene practices. Knowledge influences people health. Through basic education and public knowledge individuals become aware of the meaning of self-protection and personal hygiene (Badran, 1995). Knowledge, attitude and practice of personal hygiene of school children have been found to increase significantly after education (Mukherjee et al, 2014; Biswas et al, 1990). In Nigeria, dental caries constitutes one of the major oral health problems with its prevalence being particularly high among young children and adolescents and the occurrence closely related to oral hygiene and socio economic class (Akpata, 2004). Adegbembo and El-Nadeef (1995) reported caries experience as high as 30 and 43% among Nigerians aged 12 and 15 years, respectively.
There are many studies about the knowledge and practices of personal hygiene which were done on different groups (Tan et al, 2013; Miko et al, 2012; Suchitra et al, 2007). There are limited research findings to determine knowledge and practices of personal hygiene among secondary school students in Nigeria. However, this study is, therefore, directed to investigate the knowledge and practice of personal hygiene of senior secondary school students of Ambassadors College, Ile Ife, Nigeria as a case sample.
1.2 Statement of the problem
Several studies have shown that poor personal hygiene contribute to cross transmission of microorganisms, gum infections, increased rate of infectious illnesses, incidence of food borne outbreaks and reproductive tract infections. These have been attributed to inadequate knowledge of personal hygiene and its practices. Personal hygiene deficiency diseases have been found to continue to be a serious public health problem in developing countries like Nigeria and people often affected are school children. Moreover, to the best of my knowledge, limited studies focused on young students have been found in the literature and there is no formal study conducted concerning personal hygiene knowledge of secondary school students in Ile- Ife, Nigeria. Therefore, this study is aimed at assessing personal hygiene knowledge and practices of these senior secondary school students.
1.3 Significance of study
There is need to assess the personal hygiene knowledge and practices of this target group because they are more likely to engage in practices that may be inimical to their health than other groups and thus make them susceptible to hygiene deficiency illnesses. Furthermore, assessing their basic knowledge is essential for developing an effective personal hygiene education programs. In addition, the findings from this study can also provide basic and useful information for policy formulation and strategic interventions on personal hygiene among school students. The outcome of this study will serve as a guide for further research in this area.
1.4 Research questions
The major research questions for this study include the followings:
1.5 Research objectives
on personal hygiene.
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