An assessment of knowledge, attitudes and practices related to typhoid and its management strategies in Mbare high density suburb in Harare, Zimbabwe
Matswetu, Pamela C. M.
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Epidemiological disasters have increased as a result of poor knowledge, attitudes and practices in communities. Health education is an important component of achieving national and international public health goals, by encouraging the adoption of practices that promote good health, there is increased reduction in health risks. Salmonella typhi outbreaks have been reported in Mbare high density suburb in Matapi flats since 2016 and at the peak was the October 2016 to February 2017. The typhoid transmission prevalence continued despite increased the implementation of risk management strategies like health education, hygiene promotion activities and hand-washing facilities established to prevent and control the outbreak. An assessment of knowledge, attitude and practices (KAP) related to typhoid and its management strategies study was carried out to assess the effectiveness of ongoing typhoid fever preventive interventions per household level. This research employed a cross-sectional survey that was conducted in Mbare Ward 4 (Matapi flats, Chishawasha flats and Annex) selected areas in a bid to have a comparison of the rate of exposure in the different settings during the period of the outbreak. The research was both qualitative and quantitative and data collection tools were KAP related questionnaires and key informant interviews. The data was then analysed using Microsoft excel. The findings revealed that the knowledge, attitudes and practices of communities in Mbare high density suburb are at a moderate scale (53%) as there is still a bigger percentage (47%) of those that have low levels of knowledge, poor practices and negative attitudes. As a result this might have led to their exposure to risk of contracting typhoid due to their differences in KAP and the way they perceive risk. Generally, residents from Annex had the highest level of knowledge compared to Matapi and Chishawasha. The findings of this study underline the need for strengthening up health education and hygiene promotion activities per household level in Matapi and other overcrowded areas in Mbare so as to promote positive behavioural change in turn promoting an increase in knowledge levels, positive attitudes and good practices as some of the knowledge, practices and attitudes have affected the effectiveness of risk management strategies. Therefore, through understanding the different KAP that relate to typhoid there will be an increase in disaster risk reduction in high density suburbs thus reducing community’s exposure to typhoid.