Akter T, Ali AMehrab. Factors influencing knowledge and practice of hygiene in Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) programme areas of Bangladesh Rural Advancement Committee. Rural and Remote Health 14: 2628. (Online) 2014. Available:
Abstract / Summary:
ABSTRACT Introduction: Improved hygiene is one of the most effective means of reducing disease occurrence. However, a complete understanding of the factors that contribute to such improvement are not clear. This study explored factors that facilitate and/or impede hygiene behavior in water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) intervention areas using qualitative research techniques. Methods: The Bangladesh Rural Advancement Committee (BRAC) has been providing WASH intervention to 150 rural upazilas (sub-districts) since 2006. For qualitative data collection, in-depth interviews were conducted with 144 purposively selected women from six upazilas across Bangladesh. A woman in the household was considered as a case and interviewed regarding various aspects of sanitation and hygiene, using a checklist. Some practices, such as cleanliness of latrines, and availability of soap, water, slippers in their designated place were physically verified. Results: The respondents' hygiene behavior was mainly facilitated by improved knowledge and awareness of health and environment-related issues. Latrine ownership increased through financial assistance, resulting in improved privacy, social prestige, and a heightened sense of responsibility towards maintaining a healthy life. However, lack of interest in attending cluster meetings, traditional knowledge, poverty, and lack of will were some of the factors impeding knowledge and hygiene practice. In addition, attitude played a definitive role, with some respondents not practicing hygiene in spite of having the financial ability to do so. They expected full financial support for creating sanitation and hygiene facilities in their household despite BRAC's policy of providing such support only to the 'ultra-poor'. Conclusions: The identified impeding factors often act as barriers to transformation of hygiene-related knowledge into practice and practice into habit. More motivational cluster meetings with large-scale participation and periodic home visits by the programme organizers are imperative as they markedly improve hygiene behavior.
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