Personal hygiene and sanitation in a rural community in Kedah

Thulasi Anpalagam, Yeap Ai Ying, Divya Ravikumar, Saraswathi Bina Rai


Background: The concept of hygiene varies amongst individuals and amongst cultures. Personal hygiene and sanitation are interrelated and both can contribute to mode of transmission of disease. As part of a larger community survey, we studied the basic personal hygiene habits and sanitation status of a rural community to find out if practices in this rural community are acceptable.

Methods: This is a descriptive cross-sectional study. We defined appropriate sanitation as proper disposal of garbage and having a sanitary toilet. We used a pre-tested, structured questionnaire and carried out face-to-face interview of representatives from randomly selected household in the village PB in January, 2018. The questionnaire had 16 domains. We focused our findings on 2 domain covering personal hygiene and sanitation. All results were transcribed into excel and analysed using SPSS 22.0.

Results: We collected response from 122 households in a predominantly Malay community. Median household income ranged from RM1000 to RM2000. Main occupation is agriculture and 54.1% live in brick houses, 47% houses being a combination of brick and wood. Most (94.3%) clean their homes daily. Main method of rubbish disposal is by burning. Most have proper latrines with at least a pour flush latrine and at least one washroom.   Most (65.5%) clean toilets daily. All wash their hands before meals (91.8% using soap). Most (91.8%) shower at least twice daily and brush their teeth at least twice daily.

Conclusions: This rural community practices appropriate personal hygiene in line with the cultural norms and they have good sanitation.


Personal hygiene, Sanitation, Rural community

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