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Authors: ONIFADE, I. A.
Keywords: Environmental health officers
Environmental health practices
National environmental sanitation policy
Issue Date: May-2012
Abstract: The National Environmental Sanitation Policy (NESP) which constitutes the main thrust of the national environmental sanitation programme was formulated to ensure health-related practices that promote public health and good quality of life. Field experiences suggest that many Environmental Health Officers (EHOs), who ought to be stakeholders in the implementation of the policy; do not practice its provision. The study was therefore conducted to assess EHOs’ knowledge, and determine their perception and practices relating to the policy in Ogun state, Nigeria. All the 252 EHOs in the 20 Local Government Areas of Ogun state participated in the survey. A pre-tested semi-structured self-administered questionnaire which included a 19-point knowledge scale was used for data collection. The focus of the instrument included demographic characteristics, knowledge, perception and suggestions for improving NESP. Descriptive statistics and Chi-Square were used to analyzed the data at p value ≤ 0.05. The respondents’ mean age was 50.4 ± 26.4 years, 58.3% were males, 52.4% had university degrees and 44.4% had Higher National Diploma (HND). Respondents mean a year of service was 12.9 ±9.4 years. Fifty-five percent were aware of the existence of the policy. Respondents’ awareness of the policy varied with level of education: HND (35.7%), Bachelor’s degree (61.4%) and postgraduate (0.7%). Out of the 56.0% of the respondents who had seen the NESP, 38.1% had a copy and 44.4% had ever read it. Slightly above half (53.6%), were able to list all the ten components of NESP. Respondents’ mean knowledge score on NESP was 8.9 ±5.1 implying a low level of knowledge among them. Respondents’ experience in terms of years of service was not significantly associated with their knowledge of the components of the policy. Mean knowledge score of the males (8.9 ±5.2) was not significantly higher than females (8.8±5.0). Respondents with bachelor’s degree had significantly higher knowledge score (9.5 ±5.0) than HND holders (8.3 ±5.2 p.. value). Results on the practice of components of NESP among respondents showed that male (44.8%) had good practice more the female (28.6%). Moreover, respondents with bachelor degree had good practice than HND and postgraduate degree holders (39.3%, 33.7% and 0.4% respectively). Sixty percent of respondents were of the opinion that the policy on environmental sanitation is comprehensive enough to be able to improve the nation’s environment. The opinion of 61.9% was that EHOs was the most appropriate professionals that could implement the provisions of the policy. Majority (70.2%) of respondents were however of the perception that NESP is good enough for combating environmental health-related problems in Nigeria. Some respondents (33.7%) were of the view that the discussion of the theoretical issues related to the policy was more than the initiation of practical steps aimed at implementing its provisions. Many environmental health officers were aware of the national environmental sanitation policy; however, their knowledge of its components and the implementation was low. Health educations strategies such as training and advocacy are needed to promote the policy in addressing these shortcomings.
Description: A Dissertation in the Department of Health Promotion and Education, Submitted to the Faculty of Public Health In Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of MASTER OF PUBLIC HEALTH (Health Promotion and Education) of the UNIVERSITY OF IBADAN
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