Commuters As A Major Contributor To The Spread Of Communicable Diseases In Public Places

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Commuters As A Major Contributor To The Spread Of Communicable Diseases In Public Places


Abstract


This study focused on the commuters as a major contributor to the spread of communicable diseases in public places, Lagos State as case study.. The study is was specifically focused on raising awareness on the role of commuters in spreading communicable diseases in public places; examining the knowledge of commuters on the awareness of their active involvement in the spread of communicable diseases and suggesting effective strategies to mitigate the spread of communicable diseases by commuters in public places. The study adopted the survey research design and randomly enrolled participants in the study. A total of 100 responses were validated from the enrolled participants where all respondent are commuters in Yaba, LGA, Lagos State.


Table of Content


  • Title Page
  • Certification
  • Dedication
  • Acknowledgement
  • Table of Content
  • List of Tables
  • Abstract

Chapter One:

Introduction

  • 1.1 Background of the Study
  • 1.2 Statement of the Problem
  • 1.3 Objective of the Study
  • 1.4 Research Questions
  • 1.5 Research Hypothesis
  • 1.6 Significance of the Study
  • 1.7 Scope of the Study
  • 1.8 Limitation of the Study
  • 1.9 Definition of Terms
  • 1.10 Organisations of the Study

Chapter Two:

Review of Literature

  • 2.1 Conceptual Framework
  • 2.2 Theoretical Framework
  • 2.3 Empirical Review

Chapter Three:

Research Methodology

  • 3.1 Research Design
  • 3.2 Population of the Study
  • 3.3 Sample Size Determination
  • 3.4 Sample Size Selection Technique and Procedure
  • 3.5 Research Instrument and Administration
  • 3.6 Method of Data Collection
  • 3.7 Method of Data Analysis
  • 3.8 Validity of the Study
  • 3.9 Reliability of the Study
  • 3.10 Ethical Consideration

Chapter Four:

Data Presentation and Analysis

  • 4.1 Data Presentation
  • 4.2 Analysis of Data
  • 4.3 Answering Research Questions
  • 4.4 Test of Hypotheses

Chapter Five:

Summary, Conclusion and Recommendation

  • 5.1 Summary
  • 5.2 Conclusion
  • 5.3 Recommendation
  • References
  • APPENDIX
  • QUESTIONNAIRE

Chapter One


Introduction

1.1 Background Of The Study

Every country’s socioeconomic and political growth is aided by transport. As a result, transport may be considered the “lifeline” of every economy. It is very vital throughout the lives of any people within any geographical location because it allows different spatial locations to interact effectively (Hoyle & Knowles, 1992). The importance of transport in Ghana’s socioeconomic growth cannot be overstated. Transport has played an important part in Ghana’s economic growth throughout the pre-colonial era, continuing through the colonial era and independence to the present day. Transport has connected the country to worldwide markets, allowing it to export natural resources and create foreign money. Transport has also allowed the interplay of internal markets, allowing individuals to sell their goods and generate some income for their economic well-being. Furthermore, transport has aided social connection and national cohesiveness. Over the years, transport has played a significant role in generating job possibilities for tens of thousands of Ghanaians. Currently, the transport sector employs a large number of people and has the potential to employ much more.

However, transport is also considered risky in the sense that it has the capacity to cause harm to both persons and property (Abane, 2012). Every mode of transport, whether by land, air, or sea, has some level of danger. As a result, there is a need to make transport safer by implementing mechanisms that govern individual behavior in order to minimize the degree of harm to persons and property.

The absence of danger or harm to individuals as well as damage to property is defined as safety. According to Faulks (1990), the role of transport is to transfer people from where they are to where they wish to be and products to where their relative worth will be greater. As a result, the object or end product of transport is the arrival. Just as a well-fitting suit is the result of a tailor or seamstress, so is safe arrival the product of transport. Obviously, this arrival must be safe; that is, passengers and commodities must be transported safely and without harm or damage to their destinations.

Ghana has a variety of forms of transport, including air, sea, and land, Rail, inland waterways, pipelines, and roads are all modes of transportation. Each of these forms of transport has distinct benefits and limitations that make it ideal for one journey but unsuitable for another. By far the most popular method of transportation in the country is road transport, which has the benefit of offering door-to-door service. Indeed, road transport transports more than 95 percent of all internal passenger travel (Ministry of Transport, 2008). Approximately 85 percent of these people are transported by public transport (Gbeckor-Kove, 2010). As a result, public transport (defined in this context as any transport service offered by a third party for a commercial purpose) in Ghana has aided in meeting the transport demands of the vast majority of the populace for a variety of economic and social reasons. In Ghana, where the majority of citizens cannot afford to own their own private automobiles, it is impossible to avoid using public transport. Using public transport involves interacting with a variety of individuals on a regular basis, which has consequences for their health and comfort. The spread of communicable diseases is a major source of concern. Communicable illnesses continue to arise on a regular basis across the world, particularly in Africa (World Health Organisation, 2015). Despite persistent efforts to eliminate infectious illnesses via the introduction of vaccines for immunization, African nations continue to suffer from epidemics and pandemics (WHO).

Several outbreaks of infectious illnesses have occurred globally in the previous two decades. In 2003, for example, there were reports of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) in several countries, primarily in Asia and South America. In 2009, there was an H1N1 pandemic (dubbed Swine Flu) that affected countries in North America, Europe, Asia, and Africa. In addition, in 2014, there was an epidemic of the Ebola virus in many West African nations, the majority of which had strong links to Ghana. The death toll was 11,295 out of a total of 28,000 recorded cases (WHO, 2015).

In Ghana, for example, cholera has become endemic, with people dying virtually every year. In 2014, there was a severe cholera outbreak that impacted 28,922 people and resulted in 243 fatalities. The epidemic was recorded in 130 of the 216 districts throughout the country’s ten regions, with the Greater Accra Region having the greatest number of deaths (Ghana Health Service & Ministry of Health, 2015). In early 2016, there was another outbreak of pneumococcal meningitis in some parts of the country, and over 100 people died. All of these publications show that, despite the World Health Organization’s (WHO) and other stakeholders’ persistent efforts to eradicate communicable illnesses, new viruses continue to develop while old ones resurface, with African nations being the most vulnerable. Transport has been recognized as a mode of transmission for infectious illnesses (Allen, 2015; Feske, Musser & Graviss, 2011).

Wilson (Wilson 1995). For example, in 1998, there were allegations of TB spread aboard some airplanes, which prompted a partnership between the The International Air Transport Association (IATA), the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), and the World Health Organization (WHO) will collaborate to create a standard paper on best practices in the aviation sector for avoiding infectious disease transmission (WHO, 1998; 2006; 2008).

There are numerous methods for infectious illnesses to spread from one person to the next. While certain communicable diseases may only be spread through sexual contact or blood transfusion, others can be transmitted simply by breathing contaminated air or coming into touch with an infected individual. Fomites (contaminated beddings, clothes, medical tools, sanitary equipment, and so on) are another mode of infectious disease transmission. It has been demonstrated, for example, that the fatal Ebola virus may be transmitted by coming into touch with any bodily fluid of an infected individual (WHO, 2014b). Some illnesses, however, such as TB, common colds, and H1N1, are airborne and may be caught by breathing contaminated air from an infected person coughing or sneezing (WHO).


1.2 Statement Of The Problem

One the large number of people that use public transport at any given moment, as well as their proclivity to travel between cities, these transport networks might be a possible source for the spread of any infectious disease outbreak. According to anecdotal data, public passenger transport companies have had no official plan in place to manage infectious illnesses that have erupted throughout the years. Most truck stations in Ghana, particularly in Accra, have poor hygienic standards, which may contribute to the spread of infectious illnesses even inside the station environment. It has also been noticed that the majority of vehicles utilized for people mobility in Ghana were initially intended for goods transit.

The lack of common criteria for the conversion of these vehicles, or the lack of adherence and enforcement of those that do exist, has resulted in cars with poorly built windows and inadequate seating capacity and layout. This causes inadequate ventilation and overcrowding in these vehicles, which may contribute to the spread of infectious illnesses. This problem is exacerbated by the filthy interiors of some of the automobiles (Abane, 2009, 2012). Furthermore, where air-conditioned buses are utilized, there is a risk of communicable disease transmission because such vehicles lack a sufficient ventilation system like those found on airplanes. Furthermore, people’s behavior on public transportation (e.g., coughing or sneezing without covering the mouth and nose, and openly spitting while onboard a vehicle) has the potential to contribute to the spread of infectious illnesses in Ghana’s road passenger transport sector.

Despite all of the issues mentioned, there has been little study into strategies to limit the spread of infectious illnesses in Ghana’s road passenger transport industry. Furthermore, there are gaps in the literature regarding both the scope of the problem and the preventive measures implemented by transportation organizations to address it. The majority of public health research in the road transport sector (for example, Jorgensen & Abane, 1999; Abane, 2012; Afukaar, 2001, 2003) are concerned with road collisions. Recent outbreaks of cholera and meningitis in Ghana, as well as Ebola in other neighboring African nations, necessitate the urgent need for studies that can record existing practices and methods of dealing with the problem. As a result, this study attempted to fill a vacuum by concentrating on the possible transmission and control of infectious illnesses in Ghana’s road passenger transport industry.


1.3 Objective Of The Study

  1. To raise awareness on the role of commuters in spreading communicable diseases in public places.
  2. To examine the knowledge of commuters on the awareness of their active involvement in the spread of communicable diseases.
  3. To suggest effective strategies to mitigate the spread of communicable diseases by commuters in public places.

1.4 Research Questions

The following questions guide this study;

  1. In what ways do commuters spread communicable diseases in public places?
  2. Are commuters aware of their active role in the spread of communicable diseases in public places?
  3. What effective strategies can be employed to mitigate the spread of communicable disease by commuters in public places.

1.5 Hypothesis of the Study

The following hypothesis was formulated and tested

  • Ho: commuters has no significant impact on the spread communicable diseases in public places
  • Hi: commuters has a significant impact on the spread communicable diseases in public places

1.6 Significance of the Study

Through its efforts, the research has the potential to assist road passenger transport operators in developing and improving best practices in infection prevention and control. The study also aimed to uncover additional subtle methods, which may not be evident, through which infectious illnesses might be acquired on public transportation. This would alert the general public and transport providers, allowing them to take preventative steps. The findings might also help policymakers establish new regulations and reassess old ones for limiting disease transmission in public spaces, particularly in the road passenger transport industry. Furthermore, the study might serve as the foundation for future in-depth research into the prevention of communicable disease transmission through vehicle travel in Ghana.


1.7 Scope of the Study

This study will only focus on transport operators and passengers on the spread of communicable diseases on the public road transport system. Only Accra will be looked into as a result of its busy nature.


1.8 Limitation of the Study

The researcher during the course of undertaking this study was faced with financial constraints.


1.9 Definition of Terms

1. Transport:

A system or means of conveying people or goods from place to place.

2. Transport Operators:

Transport Operator means any employer engaged in the business of the transport of freight by road, or who employs persons to transport freight by road.

3. Passengers:

A traveller on a public or private conveyance other than the driver, pilot, or crew.

4. Communicable Diseases:

Communicable diseases, also known as infectious diseases or transmissible diseases, are illnesses that result from the infection, presence and growth of pathogenic (capable of causing disease) biologic agents in an individual human or other animal host.


1.10 Organisations of the Study

The study is categorized into five chapters.

  1. The first chapter presents the background of the study, statement of the problem, objective of the study, research questions, the significance of the study, scope/limitations of the study, and definition of terms.
  2. The chapter two covers the review of literature with emphasis on conceptual framework, theoretical framework, empirical review, and chapter summary.
  3. Likewise, the chapter three which is the research methodology, specifically covers the research design, population of the study, sample size determination, sample size, and selection technique and procedure, research instrument and administration, method of data collection, method of data analysis, validity and reliability of the study, and ethical consideration.
  4. The second to last chapter being the chapter four presents the data presentation and analysis,
  5. While the last chapter (chapter five) contains the summary, conclusion and recommendation.

Chapter Five


Summary, Conclusions and Recommendations:

5.1 Introduction

This chapter summarizes the findings on the commuters as a major contributor to the spread of communicable diseases in public places, Lagos State as case study. The chapter consists of summary of the study, conclusions, and recommendations.


5.2 Summary of the Study

In this study, our focus was on the commuters as a major contributor to the spread of communicable diseases in public places, Lagos State as case study.. The study is was specifically focused on raising awareness on the role of commuters in spreading communicable diseases in public places; examining the knowledge of commuters on the awareness of their active involvement in the spread of communicable diseases and suggesting effective strategies to mitigate the spread of communicable diseases by commuters in public places.

The study adopted the survey research design and randomly enrolled participants in the study. A total of 100 responses were validated from the enrolled participants where all respondent are commuters in Yaba, LGA, Lagos State.


5.3 Conclusions

With respect to the analysis and the findings of this study, the following conclusions emerged;

We can easily conclude that operators and passengers used for the study had a fair idea of what communicable diseases are in general and how they are transmitted. They were also aware of the environmental factors that could contribute or aid the outbreak and spread of communicable diseases.

On the issue of communicable diseases spreading on the public road transport systems, it was realized that mostof the respondents were aware of some of the diseases that can spread in the station environment as well as on vehicles. Notwithstanding their knowledge of issues related to communicable diseases, it was realized that respondents did not make conscious effort to take precautionary measures to protect themselves and others when in the transport environment. This situation could put all users of public transport, including the operators themselves at risk especially in case of any outbreak. Also some environmental factors like dust, improper waste management and inadequate toilet facilities that were observed at most of the stations could aid the spread of communicable diseases.

Respondents will not feel comfortable with persons who are suspected or known to be infected with any communicable disease in the transport environment. However, their reaction would be to politely advise such persons to take preventive measures to reduce the chance of infecting others. Alternatively, respondents would take preventive measures themselves to avoid them being infected by other people.

Public awareness creation and education are the key to sensitizing the public to consciously behave in ways that will prevent them and others from being infected with any communicable diseases in case of any outbreak. Putting together a preparedness plan, as has been done in the air transport sector, and reviewing such plans periodically would also help in preventing diseases spreading on the public road transport system.


5.4 Recommendation

Based on the findings the researcher recommends that;

  1. The authority should ensure that vehicle conversion, which is common in Nigeria is done according to international standards. Adequate windows which allow good ventilation should be prescribed and enforced during conversion. The situation where five seats are put on a vehicle like the Mercedes Benz Sprinter buses which are commonly used for the carriage of passengers in Nigeria should be reduced to four seats and three passengers on a row.
  2. Operators and vehicle owners must ensure that they adhere to specifications in a situation where there is the need to convert a vehicle from goods carriage to the carriage of passengers. They must also ensure that operations are done in more hygienic environment where passengers will have access to waiting places, waste bins and adequate washrooms with soap and running water for hand washing. They should also provide tissues and hand sanitizers at the station and on vehicles for passenger use. Operators must consider disinfecting the interior of their vehicles (especially the seats) possibly after every journey. They should incorporate passenger education in their daily activities to constantly sensitize passengers.
  3. Passengers are also advised to always ensure that they take personal steps to protect themselves and others from the risk of infection. They should ensure that they inculcate good hand washing into their daily activities and especially when they visit the toilet or urinal. This will prevent the possibility of eating with contaminated hands or contaminating things like seats on the transport system. They should adopt cough or sneeze etiquette when on public vehicles. Passengers are also encouraged to carry tissues and hand sanitizers anytime they travel. They should also wear protective clothing when it becomes necessary during a journey.
  4. The Ministry of Transport should develop a policy document on how to prevent spreading communicable diseases on the public road transport system and ensure that operators adhere to the best practices in operations. The development of this document should be done in collaboration with the Ministry of Health (MoH) and the Nigeria Health Services. The Ministry should also organize periodic training and sensitization for operators and passengers as well.
  5. The health authorities, especially those in public health should extend their education on spread of communicable diseases to the transport stations. This would keep operators and passengers constantly aware of the topic under discussion. The health authorities could also provide periodic medical screening at the various transport stations at no cost to operators and passengers. The health authorities could also assist the Ministry of Transport to develop a policy document on best practices in ensuring good health in the transport sector in Nigeria.
  6. The police must ensure that vehicles that run passenger transport with seat arrangement contrary to what has been stipulated by the DVLA are made to comply with acceptable standards, so as to prevent overcrowding on passenger vehicles and its associated consequences like spread of diseases.
  7. The spread of information is mostly championed by the media. To this end, the media in Nigeria, both electronic and print should help in educating the public on spread of diseases in public places, especially on the public road transport system.
  8. Government should take up the building of good terminals in the cities especially with all the facilities that a terminal needs in order to qualify for that status. This will reduce the situation where individuals organize lorry stations that are not up to standard, which sometimes contribute to health effect on the public. Operators must be made to use such facilities at a fee payable on daily, weekly, monthly or annual basis, depending on the convenience of each operator.

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