Compliance with the Provisions of Section 126 of The Public Health Act (Cap 242) By Public Food Places in Bungoma County, Kenya
The public food industry in Bungoma has been experiencing numerous challenges in their quest to comply with the Public Health Act (CAP 242), especially section 126. Consequently, the study sought to establish the extent of compliance with the provisions of Section 126 of the Public Health Act (Cap 242) by public food places in Bungoma County, Kenya. The government has channeled few resources towards enforcement of public health laws in the county regardless of the high levels of court fines and summons issued to proprietors within public food places. Studies determining compliance with public health laws, especially section 126 among public food places have either not been conducted or inaccessible. One of the objectives of the study was to establish the extent of compliance with the provisions of section 126 of the Public Health Act by public food places in Bungoma County, Kenya. The second objective was to establish the factors influencing the public food places proprietors’ ability to comply with Section 126 of the Public Health Act. The last objective was to establish the association among socio-demographic characteristics, public food places characteristics, practices and compliance levels. The study took a cross-sectional survey conducted across public food places in Bungoma County. A representative sample was obtained using the fisher et al (1991) approach. The total number of public food places as per the records in the Bungoma County offices is 639. However, the respondents chosen for the study was 149 after the sampling process. The respondents were obtained using a formulated eligibility criterion (exclusion and inclusion). Data was collected using inspection checklists, structured questionnaires, interviews and focus group discussions. A database that facilitated the analysis process was then created using SPSS. However, the analysis process used stata software. The association between hotel characteristics and compliance were considered significant when the p value was equal or less than 0.001. The results on compliance out of a possible score of 5 based on likert scale was certificate of fitness (3.1), wells, tanks and cisterns (2.9), stoves, cooking apparatus and chimney (2.1), construction, repair of dilapidated buildings and escape routes for occupants (2.2) and erection of movable objects, excavations and projections (2.3). The mean compliance for sewerage system was (2.2), removal of refuse on an hourly basis was (2.6), regulating sanitary conveniences was (2.1), ventilation and dimension of rooms was (2.9) and lighting was (2.9). An independent t-test indicated that on average, there indeed was a statistically significant difference in the mean compliance level between male and females with female gender being less compliant than the male gender (p=0.0001). A one-way anova test also revealed that those with less education (primary level) were less compliant as compared to their counterparts who schooled up-to secondary and college/university (F=13.9, p=0.0001). Other factors studied included revenue, relationship with law enforcers during inspection and awareness. The factors showed a statistically significant relationship with compliance based on chi-square results (p<0.005). However, bribery did not show a positive relationship with compliance. The study recommends that the county government should adapt cooperative enforcement (co-regulation) to enhance compliance. Health literacy is an important approach that increases the understanding of the law among proprietors in the county through enhancing familiarity.