Knowledge, Attitudes And Practices Regarding Anthrax Among Community Members, Health And Veterinary Workers In Maragua, Kenya
Background: Several outbreaks of anthrax in animals and humans have been reported in Maragua Sub-county of Murang’a County in the recent times. There is paucity of information on knowledge, attitudes and practices among this community regarding anthrax. A study was therefore conducted to assess knowledge, attitudes and practices regarding anthrax to provide baseline information to design interventions. Objectives: This study was conducted with the aim of assessing knowledge, describe attitudes towards, and determine practices regarding anthrax among community members, health and veterinary workers in Maragua Sub-county. Methodology: A cross sectional study was conducted among heads of household, health and veterinary workers in Maragua Sub-county in August and September 2014. Administered questionnaires were used to collect data from household members and key informant interviews held with health and veterinary workers and other opinion leaders in the community. Purposive sampling was used to obtain participants’ knowledge, attitudes and practices. Questions were scored and descriptively analyzed using MS Excel spreadsheet then exported to GenStat Discovery Edition 4. Results: A total of 293 community members were recruited in this study. They were of different ages from 18 up to above 55 years categorized into four groups with 64.5% being male and 35.5% being female. In this study the overall level of knowledge was 77.9% of all community members regarding cause, transmission, symptoms and prevention of the disease in both humans and animals. More than three quarters of the participants (79.5%) were self-employed doing crop and livestock farming. Majority (88.4%) of the community members owned animals (Chi-square = 0.1550, p-value = 0.6938). Almost all participants (96.3%) had heard about anthrax (p-value = 0.0001). A total of 99 (33.8%) correspondents had seen a person with anthrax. Most people (75.1%) thought that anthrax is very serious, 13.0% of them thought that anthrax is somewhat serious while 12.0% thought that it is not serious in the area. Of the participants, 29.0% preferred awareness by baraza followed by radio (20.4%), Community Health Workers (CHW) then followed (19.7%), church (8.8%) xiv and least respondents preferred TV (5.4%), neighbors (3.6%), Schools (3.0%) and newspapers and magazines (1.7%). Of the interviewed respondents, 14.3% of them have had their animals (mostly cattle) suffer from anthrax. Among the respondents, 15.7% had either suffered from anthrax or have had their family member suffer from anthrax. Of the 46 (15.7%) morbidities, 65.2% of them contracted anthrax by consuming meat from a carcass that had died of anthrax. The rest contracted anthrax by contact with infected materials from the carcass. Livestock keeping, ‘cut and carry’ mode of grazing (p-value of 0.0623), eating un-inspected meat, poor carcass disposal and some cultural practices were the main practices attributed to anthrax infection in humans. Conclusion: The study findings indicate above average knowledge on cause, symptoms, transmission and prevention of anthrax among community members. Practices in this study were still risky among community members. Veterinary and Medical health planners should design anthrax awareness interventions as a team, targeting to reach these communities and the public through barazas, radio, CHW and other communication channel on a regular basis. Keywords: Anthrax, Attitudes, Kenya, Knowledge, Maragua and Practices.
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