Knowledge, Attitude And Practice Of Personal Hygiene Among Government Day Secondary School Kofai-Ardokola LGA Taraba State

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Knowledge, Attitude And Practice Of Personal Hygiene Among Government Day Secondary School Kofai-Ardokola LGA Taraba State


This study was designed to determine the knowledge, perception and practices of personal hygiene among Government Day Secondary School Kofai-Ardokola LGA Taraba State. A cross-sectional study design was used. Systematic random sampling was used in selecting 476 respondents out of 724 students. An interviewer- administered semi-structured questionnaire, which included a 28 knowledge, 9 perception, and 31 practice scales, was used for data collection. Knowledge scores of ≤ 10, > 10 to < 20 and ≥ 20 were rated as poor, fair and good respectively. Perception scores of > 4 were classified as positive while practice scores of > 15 were rated as good. Two different sets of observational checklists were used to assess respondents’ physical appearance, classrooms and the school environment. Data were analysed using descriptive statistics and Chi-square test at 5% level of significance.

Respondent‘s mean age was 13.9±2.0, 55.7% were females and 60.3% were in PJSS. Mean knowledge, perception and practice scores were 17.8±3.9, 5.8±2.1 and 15.4±4.7 respectively. Significantly more respondents (66.4%) with good knowledge of PH engaged in good PH practices compared to those with poor knowledge that engaged in good PH practices (46.7%) with P-value of 0.01. Also, more respondents (58.0%) with positive perception engaged in good practices, than 33.3% with negative perception who engaged in good PH practices. Majority (62.0%) of the observed respondents had neatly combed hair, 87.1% had clean teeth, 98.0% had foot wear on and 72.3% wore stockings. Only 2.9% of the classes observed had bowls for water, none had either soap or towel and only 17.6% of the classes had dustbins. The median number of toilets in the schools was 3.0 (range 0-6) and 80.0% of the schools had dug wells. Majority of the respondents had positive perception of personal hygiene and their knowledge was fair. Furthermore, some of their practices have potential for putting them at risk of infection. Training and the provision of adequate sanitary facilities are needed to address the challenges.


Table of Content

Preliminary Page(s)

  • Title Page
  • Declaration
  • Approval
  • Dedication
  • Acknowledgement
  • Abstract
  • Table of Content

Chapter One

1.0 Introduction

  • 1.1 Background of the Study
  • 1.2 Statement of the Problem
  • 1.3 Research Objectives
  • 1.4 Research Questions
  • 1.5 Research Hypothesis
  • 1.6 Significance of the Study
  • 1.7 Definition of Terms
  • 1.8 Organization of Study

Chapter Two

2.0 Literature Review

  • 2.1 Conceptual Review
  • 2.2 Personal Hygiene Practices and Health
  • 2.3 Attitude of Students on Personal Hygiene
  • 2.4 Factors that can affect Secondary School Students’ Personal Hygiene
  • 2.5 Personal Hygiene Practices
  • 2.6 School Policies on Personal Hygiene

Chapter Three

3.0 Methodology

  • 3.1 Study Design and Scope
  • 3.2 Study Population
  • 3.3 Sampling Technique
  • 3.4 Methods and Instruments for Data Collection
  • 3.5 Data Collection Process
  • 3.6 Data Processing and Analysis

Chapter Four

4.0 Results and Discussion

  • 4.1 Results
  • 4.2 Discussion

Chapter Five

5.0 Conclusion and Recommendation

  • 5.1 Conclusion
  • 5.2 Recommendations
  • References
  • Appendix

Chapter One

1.0 Introduction

1.1 Background of the Study

Lord Quick (2013) defined hygiene as the study and practice of preventing illness or stopping it from spreading, by keeping things clean. The concept also refers to the set of practices associated with the preservation of health and healthy living. It is a concept related to medicine as well as to personal, professional care and practices affecting most aspects of living; although it is most often associated with disease preventive measures. Hygiene can also be referred to as the science that deals with the promotion of health (Victoria State, Department of Health, 2015).
Personal hygiene (PH) can be described as the principle of maintaining cleanliness and grooming of the external body (Johnson, 2015). Personal Hygiene refers to all activities, actions and practices carried out by an individual to keep the body clean and healthy. There are so many benefits attached to personal hygiene such as prevention of diseases, quick recovery from illnesses, social acceptance by people, emotional satisfaction and good personal appearance. Personal Hygiene is the first step to good grooming and good health and this involves all measures taken by individuals to preserve his or her health (Johnson, 2015). Improved standard of hygiene will prevent health problems like dandruff, athletes foot, body odour, pin worms, excessive ear wax, gastro-intestinal diseases (Web Health Centre, 2015).

Personal Hygiene can also be described as taking care of every part of the body including hands, legs, teeth, ears, hair, eyes and nose. People stay healthy or become ill often as a result of their own actions or behaviours (Leonard, 2014). Some examples of people‘s action or behaviours that can cause diseases are: ‗not washing hands before eating, defecating anywhere on the open field, not washing hands after defecating, not washing clothes regularly and when necessary, not cleaning the mouth properly with the right materials (Adeniyi, 1994). Personal hygiene pertains to hygienic practices performed by the individual to care for one‘s bodily health and well-being through cleanliness. Attention to personal hygiene will help a person look their best, feel their best and can help in avoiding diseases. Motivations for personal hygiene practice include reduction of personal illness, healing from personal illness, optimal health and sense of well-being, social acceptance and prevention of spread of illness to others. An individual‘s personality can be impaired by his failure to give proper care and attention to his body generally (Johnson, 2015).

Good grooming implies decent clothing, well-kept hair, clean teeth, fresh breadth, clean skin, and well-manicured nails. All these minute details about a person‘s body add up to his level of physical health and sense of well-being. One of the most effective ways of someone getting protected from illness is good personal hygiene (Lucas and Gilles, 2012). This entails washing hands, body, taking good care of your ears, eyes, teeth, nails, feet and other aspects of your body. It also involves taking care of personal effects. Good looks are usually the result of great care and attention paid to personal hygiene. There are some materials that people generally share with others which may be detrimental to health; such materials include hair clippers, manicure and pedicure kits. It is important for students to be aware of this and take necessary precautions.

Engaging in some very basic PH measures could help prevent coughs and colds from being passed from person to person. Social aspects could be affected, as many people will choose to avoid someone who has bad PH than tell him/her how to improve (Hygiene Expert, 2015). Personal Hygiene is personal, each individual has ways of taking care of his body, however this should not differ too much from what is generally acceptable worldwide. Hygienic practices vary widely and what is considered acceptable in one culture might not be acceptable in another. An example is the use of chewing sticks in cleaning teeth, which is peculiar to some African countries.

Cases of cholera had been estimated as 3 million yearly (WHO, 2014) and 500 million people are at risk of suffering from blindness from trachoma globally (Centre for disease control, (CDC), 2009). The estimated prevalence of ascariasis was 25% globally (Haburchark, 2014). Personal Hygiene is among the risk factors for contacting the infections among others. Good personal hygiene in relation to preventing epidemics or even pandemic outbreaks is very significant (Lucas and Gilles, 2012). In Nigeria, five common health problems of students are fever / typhoid (56%), headache (43%), stomach ache (29%), cough/catarrh (38%) and malaria (40%) (Federal Ministry of Education, (FMOE) 2006). 30% of students have low Body Mass Index (BMI), 0.2% of students have lice on their heads, 3% of students have skin rashes, about 20% of students do not have normal visual acuity, lip sores were observed in 0.8% and 0.5% of the primary and secondary school students respectively, dental plaque was observed in more than 10% of students , 0.4% of students have sores on their tongue, about 19% of students do not have normal hearing (FMOE, 2006,).

The population to be used for this study is secondary school students who are mostly adolescents. The age of secondary school students differs from country to country. It is commonly considered to be between 12-17 years of age (UNICEF, 2015). According to World Health Organization (WHO, 2014), adolescents are grouped as individuals between 10 – 19 years, therefore majority of secondary students are adolescents. They constitute about
1.2 billion (20%) of the world‘s population (UNICEF, 2015). In their childhood years, they ought to have been trained on healthy practices and by the time they get to the secondary school, they should have formed their own personal hygienic habits. Adolescent‘s health needs and concerns can be met through the school by educating and empowering students to improve their practices on health. The government, parents, teachers and the students themselves all have different roles to play in promoting PH.

A fundamental step in promoting PH among students is to first of all carry out a needs assessment relating to their knowledge, perception and PH related practices which can be relied upon as baseline information for action. Herein lays the basis and import of this study.

1.2 Statement of the Problem

So many gastro intestinal diseases like diarrhoea, dysentery, typhoid and cholera can be prevented through personal hygiene (Lucas and Gilles, 2012). Other conditions that can be prevented through personal hygiene include head lice, dandruff, bad breadth, dental caries, dental calculus, ear wax accumulation, body odour, excessive perspiration, urinary tract infections, pin worms, impetigo, boil, ringworm, allergic reactions, body louse, ticks, black hairy tongue, trachoma, cystitis thrush, colds, helminthic infestations and athletes foot (Lucas and Gilles, 2012).

In the past, there was regular inspection of students which is no longer a common practice (Olaseha, Sridhar and Babatola, 2003). Other barriers to control infectious diseases in the community include inadequate sanitation, lack of knowledge about the biology and ecology of some microbiology causing the diseases (Abdulumin, 1993). The enabling conditions for improving the personal hygiene of students are not available in some instances. Trachoma can be prevented by improving sanitation, reducing the breeding sites of flies and teaching children to wash their faces with clean water. Trachoma caused by microscopic Chlamydia trachomatis remains the leading cause of preventable blindness — with an estimated 6 million people suffering loss of sight and 146 million acute cases worldwide (WHO, 2015).

There is the need to get information on the areas where the adolescents are having problems with their PH. Some students are involved in bad habits like nail biting, sneezing without covering their mouth, washing hands only with water after leaving the toilet and cleaning their ears with hair pins. There is dearth of information on the present facilities that will make the students observe their personal hygiene properly (The Nigerian Child, 2007).
Not many studies have been carried out holistically on the personal hygiene practice of students in Nigeria; this research work is therefore designed to focus on the knowledge, perceptions and practices of personal hygiene among secondary students in Ibadan North West LG Area.

1.3 Research Objectives

The broad objective of the study was to investigate the knowledge, attitude and practice of personal hygiene among government day secondary school Kofai-Ardokola LGA Taraba State. The specific objectives that guided the design of this study were to;

  1. Assess respondents’ knowledge on personal hygiene.
  2. Describe respondents’ attitude relating to personal hygiene.
  3. Report respondents’ practices relating to personal hygiene.
  4. Identify factors that can influence students’ practice of personal hygiene.

1.4 Research Questions

  1. What is the level of knowledge of students on personal hygiene?
  2. What is the attitude of students on personal hygiene?
  3. What are the personal hygiene practices of the students?
  4. What are the facilities in the home that can promote the personal hygiene of students?

1.5 Research Hypothesis

HO: There is no significant relationship between the knowledge and practice of personal hygiene among government day secondary school

1.6 Significance of the Study

The result of the study will be useful, as baseline information in the design of educational interventions aimed at equipping secondary school students with knowledge and skills for taking responsibilities for their personal hygiene. Personal hygiene is comprehensive; embracing the care of all the parts of the body, therefore carrying out this study will provide a platform for improving the School Health Education Programmes for secondary schools in Nigeria. The findings from this study will also be useful in carrying out well planned, implemented and evaluated School Health Programmes with personal hygiene integrated into all the stages. The outcome of the study will also be a useful tool in promoting team work when carrying out intervention programmes on health in secondary schools.

Furthermore, the outcome of the study will reveal gaps in knowledge as well as inappropriate practices and perceptions which further research could be used to explore. Such an exploration will have an ultimate goal of generating adequate information overtime for guiding evidence-based policy formulation relating to personal hygiene in school settings.

1.7 Definition of Terms

Personal Hygiene

Personal hygiene refers to all actions and practices carried out by an individual, in order to stay fit, clean and healthy.


Usual way of doing something, habit and performance.

Life skills

Acquired health education techniques or competencies for making healthy choices and adopting

1.8 Organization of Study

The study comprises of 5 chapters. In chapter one, the concepts are introduced and the problem of the study is established with the research objectives and questions. Chapter two presents the literature review while chapter three presents the research methodology. The fourth chapter presents the results and discussion, and the last chapter presents the conclusion and recommendation.

Chapter Five

5.0 Conclusion and Recommendation

5.1 Conclusion

The objectives of this study were met, as the level of the knowledge, perception and practices of the secondary students relating to personal hygiene were identified. Majority had fair knowledge of personal hygiene with the senior schools topping the list of those with good knowledge of personal hygiene. Several gaps in knowledge, misconceptions and poor hygiene practices exist among them which health education intervention could be used to address (Olaseha et al, 2003). The study revealed several perceptions which have potential for promoting poor PH practices among them. The respondents perceived that it is not always possible to wash hands before eating, that chewing sticks can clean the teeth better than tooth brush and tooth paste and that too much sweat on the body can lead to bad odour.

Some poor personal hygiene practices were prevalent among the study population. These practices included keeping of long nails, using the tip of the biro or matchstick in cleaning the ear, cutting of fingernails with the teeth, sharing of bathing sponge with others, the use of any handkerchief or the finger in cleaning the nose and the use of chewing stick in cleaning the mouth. Increasing the PH knowledge of the secondary school students through educational interventions and the provision of water and other necessary sanitation facilities will actually improve student’s personal hygiene practices.

5.2 Recommendations

  1. Training should be organized for students in the schools on how to take care of their teeth, hair, feet, nose, eyes and hands.
  2. There should be gender equity in the distribution of personal hygiene materials and sanitation facilities within schools.
  3. All the facilities needed for personal hygiene by the schools should be provided for them through the help of the government, Non-Government Organizations, Community and Parents and Teachers Associations. This can be achieved through advocacy.
  4. Interschool and intra-school competitions relating to personal hygiene should be institutionalized in the secondary schools as a strategy for promoting personal hygiene among them.
  5. There should be adequate provision and maintenance of sources of water in all the schools with a view to facilitate the practice of personal hygiene among students.

Knowledge, Attitude And Practice Of Personal Hygiene Among Government Day Secondary School Kofai-Ardokola LGA Taraba State

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Knowledge, Attitude And Practice Of Personal Hygiene Among Government Day Secondary School Kofai-Ardokola LGA Taraba State


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