Knowledge and practices regarding water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) among mothers of under-fives in Mawabeni, Umzingwane District of Zimbabwe
The research study sought to assess knowledge and practices of mothers of under-fives regarding WASH in Mawabeni communal area in Zimbabwe. Focus group discussions, interviews, questionnaires and observation checklists were used to collect data. Data was analysed by developing specific themes related to the objectives and then frequencies were computed in Microsoft Excel. The mean score on WASH knowledge for the mothers of under-fives according to the Knowledge Index was 1. Knowledge regarding safety of water from different sources was generally poor with 70% of the mothers regarding water from surface sources to be safe to drink without treatment. Use of wide mouthed containers without lids was also common in the study area. However, no relationship was established between the type of water container used and the socio-demographic characteristics of the respondents. Knowledge regarding the importance of ablutions was generally good as highlighted by 78% of the mothers who regarded latrines as being important in prevention and control of diseases as well as for hygiene purposes. However, latrine ownership was noted to be related to the income level of the household (p < 0.0001). A total of 57% of the mothers had good knowledge on hand washing, indicating that it helped to prevent diseases. Generally, knowledge levels and sanitation practices on WASH among mothers of under-fives in Mawabeni were both poor and this could be a contributory factor to the high incidence of diarrheal diseases for under-fives in the area.