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Free Content Anal cleansing practices and faecal contamination: a preliminary investigation of behaviours and conditions in schools in rural Nyanza Province, Kenya

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Objective  To learn how children in rural schools in Nyando District, Kenya clean themselves after defecation.

Methods  Six focus group discussions were held with boys and girls ages 12–15 in three rural schools in mid‐2009. Parents were interviewed in one setting. In early 2010, a survey of head teachers was conducted in 114 schools in Nyanza Province, Kenya, to assess the provision of anal cleansing materials and handwashing water and soap in schools.

Results  Anal cleansing behaviour is linked with access to materials, age, social pressure, perceived personal risk of illness and emotional factors. Materials used for anal cleansing include schoolbook paper, leaves, grasses, stones, corncobs and one’s own hands. Students have knowledge gaps in terms of personal hygiene. They were forthcoming with information on their anal cleansing practices. Almost no schools budgeted for or provided anal cleansing materials regularly.

Conclusion  Anal cleansing is a necessary human activity. However, because of social taboos, there are few articles on the topic. School health plans overlook it as well. Researchers need to determine if and how current practices could harm child health to inform policy.

Language: English

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1:  Center for Global Safe Water, Emory University, Atlanta, GA, USA 2:  Great Lakes University of Kisumu, Kisumu, Kenya 3:  Department of Environmental and Global Health, Center for African Studies, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL, USA

Publication date: 2011-12-01

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