School children: An active role in disease prevention

Pui Lai OR, TY CHING, Wai Yee Joanne CHUNG

Research output: Other contributionOther contributions

Abstract

Introduction: Background: Influenza outbreaks occur every year. Pathogens, such as Influenza viruses, can spread easily. Non-pharmaceutical Interventions, such as hand hygiene, if implemented properly, can help stop the spread of pathogens in community settings (Pong, Holiday & Fernie, 2018).
Objective: To evaluate whether hand hygiene compliance t raining of Hong Kong preschoolers improves their hand hygiene knowledge and performance, and reduces their absenteeism resulting from influenza symptoms.
Methods: This was a quasi-experimental study with pretest and posttest design. Preschoolers underwent a program on hand hygiene. Before and after the program, their hand hygiene knowledge were assessed by ten "true/false" questions and their handwashing skills by photos of their hands taken before and after handwashing. To determine whether a causal relationship existed between compliance and absenteeism, their absent data were collected over three months for analysis.
Results: A total of 114 K3 students had consented to participate in the program; however, 4 students had to drop out because of sickness. Of the remaining 11 o preschoolers, 64.5% were boys and 35.5% were girls. The preschoolers had to answer 1 O true or false questions on hand hygiene to enable the research team to compare their knowledge before and after the training program. It was observed that the percentages in correct scores for 8 of the questions had increased with the exception of 2 questions (ie, questions 6 and 9), the percentages of which had remained the same without any change (Table 1 ).
After the program, the average percentages of colored (thoroughness of handrubbing) areas before handwashing were 87.7% on both hands and 83.4% on the backs of their hands. (Fig 1 ). After handwashing, the remaining colored (dirty) areas on the preschoolers' hands represented the part that had not been washed properly. A paired Student t test was performed to measure the differences in the percentages of the colored (dirty) areas after handwashing before and after the program, and significant differences were found on the colored (dirty) areas on the backs of fingers with P = .002, thumbs with P = .001, finger tips with P = .001. (Fig 2). The findings showed that preschooler absence owing to influenza symptoms had decreased in each of the 3 months, from 31%-30% and then to 25%, showing a decreasing trend in the 3 months in all participating kindergartens.
Conclusion: After the training program, the participants' hand hygiene knowledge and performance considerably improved. They washed their hands more thoroughly and there was a significant reduction in absences due to influenza. Copyright © 2019 Health Research Symposium.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2019

Citation

Or, P. L., Ching, T. Y., & Chung, W. Y. (2019, June). School children: An active role in disease prevention. Poster presented at the Health Research Symposium 2019: Genomics and Big Data in Health and Disease, Hong Kong Academy of Medicine Jockey Club Building, Hong Kong, China.

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