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Community based assessment on household management of waste and hygiene practices in Kersa Woreda, Eastern Ethiopia

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Background: Improper waste management may have health and environmental hazards. Studies showed the relationship of many diseases to improper waste management. Objective: This study aimed to assess the status of waste management and hygiene practices in Kersa Woreda, Eastern Ethiopia. Methods: A cross sectional study was conducted in Kersa Demographic Surveillance and Health Research Centre (KDS-HRC) project site in April 2008. The study subjects were randomly selected 444 households. Data were collected through interview and observation. Results: The majority of the households, (66%) disposed solid wastes in open dumps and only 6.9% of the households had temporary storage means for solid waste. About 98.4 % of the respondents revealed that the responsibility of waste management is left for women and girls. Only 36.4% households had latrines and almost all were simple unsanitary traditional pits. From those households with latrine the habit of hand-washing after defecation was reported to be only about 5.1%. The habit of hand washing after defecation is significantly associated with the educational status of the respondents (P<0.01) Conclusion: in the study community household management of waste is in poor condition. Health-workers and local authorities must pay special emphasis to improve these conditions. Further in-depth studies should also be encouraged to look for improved interventions. [Ethiop. J. Health Dev. 2010;24(2):103-109]

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