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Assessment of the hand hygiene status of internally displaced persons in Jos and environs, Nigeria

Internally displaced persons (IDPs) are often predisposed to infectious diseases because of the temporary nature of their abode which usually does not have adequate water and hygiene facilities. A hundred (100) samples of hand-washed water taken under aseptic conditions from the hands of the IDPs prior to the emergence of COVID-19 were analyzed using standard bacteriological procedures to determine the total plate and coliform counts, identify the bacterial isolates, and to determine their sensitivity to an array of commonly used antibiotics. Structured questionnaires were also administered to IDPs in order to determine their knowledge, practice, and compliance to hand washing. The results of the study showed the mean total plate count and coliform count of the subjects to be 2.71 × 105 cfu/ml and 2.78 × 105 cfu/ml for House of Recabs and 2.90 × 105 cfu/ml and 2.54 ×105 for Stefanos Foundation respectively. The percentage frequency of Occurrence (in brackets) of the bacterial isolates were that Streptococcus faecalis (21%), Staphylococcus aureus (31%) Escherichia coli (32%), Salmonella spp (32%) Pseudomonas aeruginosa (40%), and Proteus sp (61.1%) was the most resistant organism to the antibiotics followed by P. aeruginosa (49.3%). The highly sensitive organisms were S. aureus (63.9%) and S. faecalis (56.7%) respectively. The results of the questionnaire survey showed that the hand washing compliance score of the IDPs was generally poor (34.00%) with House of Recabs having a slightly higher score (35.60%) than Stefanos Foundation (32.40%) respectively. Awareness drive and provision of hand washing facilities in the IDP camps should be provided to promote hand hygiene are hereby recommended.

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