Factors associated with water borne diseases among pupils in Kiganjo Location Nyeri District Kenya
Kathugu, N. P.
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School children are exposed to various types of water borne diseases. There are different factors that contribute to the occurrence of these diseases in different schools. Water borne diseases are intricately linked to quality water, sanitation and hygiene. Sanitation is an environmental factor that is associated to occurrence of diseases such as intestinal worms, and other water borne diseases, while hygiene is equally import in occurrence of water bome diseases. Deforestation of the water catchment's towers at the Aberdare, Mau and Mt. Kenya forests have reduced the water quantities in the region. This may have compromised the water quantity and quality as well as sanitation and hygiene standards of Nyeri district which lead to occurrence of water borne diseases. There is scarce information on water bome diseases in Nyeri district and more recent information needs to be documented. The study was conducted in Kiganjo location of Nyeri district to determine the factors associated with the infection of water borne diseases among the pupils in the location as well as the levels of infection. The study area, being disadvantaged by its aridity and dependency on the depleting water sources from Mt Kenya and Aberdares, was purposively selected to represent Nyeri district. A random selection of schools from this location was done using the random numbers to select schools across the location. Pupils were selected using the systematic random sampling from the school's registers. A total of 375 pupils were sampled for the study. Data was collected by recording of the results on stool examination done to the respondents, and by using an observation checklist in the selected schools. Data on water quality was collected by carrying out a bacteriological water analysis on all the water sources in the location and recording the results for comparison with the infection rates of respondents. Secondary information was gathered from the location's health centre where school children get their medical services. Data was processed using SPSS soft ware and then analyzed using chi-square test to determine the associations between age, sex and infection, as well as infection rate and independence of the school. The results of the study showed that prevalence of water bome diseases was 54.4%. Of this prevalence, 38% was infection by E. histolytica, 7.2% by G. lamblia, and 21.65% by intestinal worms, the rest being E. cold which is a normal flora in the gastro intestinal track. The infection by water borne diseases was independent of school (chi-square = 13.680, p = 0.033). There was a significant relationship between the class category according to age and the infection by parasites that are water borne. The lower age group of 5 - 10 years being more infected (chi-square = 5.953, p = 0.015). The schools with poorer water quality, sanitation and hygiene had more infections by the water bome diseases. There was a significant correlation in hand washing and the infection (r = -0.986, p = 0.005), indicating the leading factor associated with infection of water borne diseases in the region. The availability of toilets in relation to infection was significant (r = -0.9765, p = 0.005) and was next to hand washing. It was recommended that health workers provide prompt treatment to the infected and also undertake regular deworming. Schools should adhere to the sanitation and hygiene standards set by MOEST together with the Public Health Act CAP 242 L.O.K. NYEWASCO should extend the supply of treated water to all the primary schools in Kiganjo location and other schools in Nyeri district.