Anal Cleansing Practices And Fecal Contamination: A Preliminary Investigation Of Behaviors And Conditions In Schools In Rural Nyanza Province, Kenya

ASU Author/Contributor (non-ASU co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Richard Rheingans Ph.D., Department Chair (Creator)
Appalachian State University (ASU )
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Abstract: 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. Almostno 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.

Additional Information

McMahon SA, Caruso BA, Obure AF, Okumu F and Rheingans RD. 2011. Anal cleansing practices and fecal contamination: a preliminary investigation of behaviors and conditions in schools in rural Nyanza province, Kenya. Tropical Medicine and International Health. 2011 Sep 12. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-3156.2011.02879 pp.1536-1540. ISSN 1360-2276. Version of record available at:
Language: English
Date: 2011

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