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Article

Local Perceptions, Cultural Beliefs, Practices and Changing Perspectives of Handling Infant Feces: A Case Study in a Rural Geita District, North-Western Tanzania

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Department of Health Promotion Sciences, Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health, The University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ 85724, USA
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Department of Environmental Health Sciences, Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health, The University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ 85724, USA
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National Institute for Medical Research, 11101 Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
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Department of Anthropology, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ 85724, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(9), 3084; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17093084
Received: 7 April 2020 / Revised: 24 April 2020 / Accepted: 25 April 2020 / Published: 29 April 2020
We report on the management of infant feces in a rural village in Geita region, Tanzania. Findings discussed here emerged incidentally from a qualitative study aimed at investigating vulnerability and resilience to health challenges in rural settings. Data was gathered through semi-structured focus group discussions (FDGs) with women (n = 4; 32 participants), men (n = 2; 16 participants), and community leaders (n = 1; 8 participants). All FDGs were audio recorded, transcribed verbatim and thematically analyzed using Atlas.ti. Respondents reported feces of a child under the age of six months were considered pure compared to those of older children. Infant feces were seen as transitioning to harmful at the point when the child began to eat solid food, resulting in their stool visually changing in appearance. Caregivers reportedly used soft implements to handle infant feces due to the belief that tools with hard surfaces would physically harm the child. Infant feces were disposed in environments around the house due to the belief that disposal in latrines would prevent developmental milestones and result in other perceived negative health outcomes for the child. Changing views expressed by participants suggest a window of opportunity to implement evidence-based and culturally relevant interventions to encourage the safe disposal of infant feces. View Full-Text
Keywords: infant feces disposal; child feces management; diarrhea transmission; perceptions; culturally relevant interventions; Geita Region; Tanzania infant feces disposal; child feces management; diarrhea transmission; perceptions; culturally relevant interventions; Geita Region; Tanzania
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MDPI and ACS Style

Chebet, J.J.; Kilungo, A.; Alaofè, H.; Malebo, H.; Katani, S.; Nichter, M. Local Perceptions, Cultural Beliefs, Practices and Changing Perspectives of Handling Infant Feces: A Case Study in a Rural Geita District, North-Western Tanzania. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17, 3084. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17093084

AMA Style

Chebet JJ, Kilungo A, Alaofè H, Malebo H, Katani S, Nichter M. Local Perceptions, Cultural Beliefs, Practices and Changing Perspectives of Handling Infant Feces: A Case Study in a Rural Geita District, North-Western Tanzania. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 2020; 17(9):3084. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17093084

Chicago/Turabian Style

Chebet, Joy J., Aminata Kilungo, Halimatou Alaofè, Hamisi Malebo, Shaaban Katani, and Mark Nichter. 2020. "Local Perceptions, Cultural Beliefs, Practices and Changing Perspectives of Handling Infant Feces: A Case Study in a Rural Geita District, North-Western Tanzania" International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health 17, no. 9: 3084. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17093084

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