Kelly Oluoch, John Muthuka, Francis Wabmura, Mirrium Muthoka, Edwin Dede, Samuel Ndukanio


In an effort to mitigate the outbreak of COVID-19, many countries have imposed drastic lockdown, movement control, or shelter-in-place orders on their residents. The effectiveness of these mitigation measures is highly dependent on the cooperation and compliance of all members of society. The knowledge, attitudes, and practices people hold toward the disease play an integral role in determining a society’s readiness to accept behavioral change measures from health authorities. Urban informal settlements are characterized by large populations occupying a small land area. Housing in informal settlements is close to each other with most households making do with poor quality and erratic water supply. How challenges of sanitation in slum dwellings in Kenya affect the spread of COVID-19 is not known. Social distancing, wearing masks and hand washing among other measures are known to reduce the spread of COVID-19. Although access to hand-washing facilities with soap and water is nearly universal in high-income countries, the same is not true for low-income countries. The purpose of this survey was to assess the challenges of hand washing as a COVID-19 prevention measure among urban slum populations in Kenya. Key information of practices on hand-washing practices among this sub-population will inform the ministry of health, its collaborators, and interested health sectors, on areas of improvement. A descriptive cross-sectional survey for quantitative data was used. Solvins formula for the calculation of sample size was used. A properly designed data collection tool was used in collecting the primary data on hand washing to prevent transmission of COVID-19 with a combination of face-to-face interviews. A pre-test of the data collection tool prior to pilot data collection was performed to ascertain validity and reliability. Data was analyzed using descriptive statistics such as frequencies, mean and standard deviation and displayed using tables and figures. Inferential statistics for predictive associations between variables was performed. In the analysis, data was combined to allow reporting on an array of issues. The results indicate salient challenges on hand-washing and show an acceptable level of knowledge in mitigating COVID-19 through hand-washing and hygiene and, highlight the importance of consistent messaging from local health authorities and the government as well as the need for tailored community health education and sensitization programs to improve levels of knowledge, attitudes, and practices mostly on handwashing as this pandemic may be there for some time or there could be a possible upsurge in future.


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