This study investigated knowledge and practices of hand washing among secondary school children, hand washing has been recognized as a critical factor in infections control. Hand washing is a self-voluntary behavior that can be instilled into human beings, it is a part of self-hygiene. The study involved A total of 276 secondary school students of Esan West local selected across the classes, and sex using simple random technique. The selected students responded to the authors self-report questionnaire. Pooled data subjected to statistical analysis revealed  that (92%) of respondents had good knowledge of hand washing and practiced it.

a total of 270(90.0%) of the respondents had a positive attitude. However, a total of 7(2.3%) of the respondents had a poor practice of hand washing. A total of 57.3% forget to wash their hands, 9.7% attributed their reasons for non practice of hand washing to non availability of water, while a few of them attributed it to lack of time. The study showed that a total percentage of 92.7% of respondents have  a knowledge of hand washing, 7.3% have no knowledge This shows that there is still the need to practice as a means of maintaining personal  hygiene, which is a means of controlling hand contact infections..This study elicits the importance of adopting effective measures in secondary schools to motivate about regular Hand hygiene at this early stage. The gaps in knowledge & practice of hand washing can be addressed through public awareness campaigns and motivational programs, including sessions of hand hygiene training in the school curriculum. The findings implies that  communicable diseases such as ebola, monkey pox can be prevented.





Hands are the highways to the transmission and spread of bacteria, pathogens, and viruses that cause diseases, food-borne illness, and infections resulting from hospital treatment (nosocomial). Infectious germs on the hands are the most common ways that people spread infection. This is caused by rubbing their nose or eyes with their hands, which have been contaminated with the cold virus and other bacteria. Hand hygiene is the act of cleaning one’s hands with or without the use of water or other liquid, or with the use of soap, for the purpose of removing soil, dirt and/or microorganisms. Medical hand hygiene pertains to the hygiene practices related to the administration of medicine and medical care that prevents or minimizes disease and the spreading of disease. The main medical purpose of washing hands is to cleanse the hands of pathogens (including bacteria or viruses) and chemicals which can cause personal harm or disease. This is especially important for people who handle food or work in the medical field, but it is also an important practice for the general public. People can become infected with respiratory illnesses such as influenza or the common cold, for example, if they don’t wash their hands before touching their eyes, nose, or mouth. Indeed, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has stated: “It is well documented that one of the most important measures for preventing the spread of pathogens is effective hand washing

The high incidence of diarrheal diseases and other communicable diseases among school children may be due to poor knowledge and practice of personal and environmental hygiene.  Poor knowledge and practice of, and attitudes to personal hygiene, such as hand washing, has negative consequences for a child’s long term overall development. Good hand washing practice is therefore a prerequisite to a child’s survival. Thus the global sensitization to the outbreak of the Pandemic Influenza H1N1 in 2009 included hand washing with clean water and soap, after critical moments, as a mode of prevention

In Nigeria, over 150,000 deaths occur annually amongst children due to diarrhea. A simple hygiene habit of washing hands with soap could half this figure. Diarrhea is both preventable and treatable, yet families in developing countries such as Nigeria continue to pay the price of this disease in lost lives, missed school days, reduced resistance to infections, impaired growth, malnutrition and poverty

On this background the researcher therefore wish to assess the knowledge, attitude and practices of and hygiene amongst secondary school students in Esan West Local Government Area, Edo State..


Considering the rate of spread of infectious diseases amongst school age children in Nigeria, it is obvious that there is a low level of awareness as well as wrong attitude and practice of this simple hygiene habit, hand washing. Encouraging children and adults to wash their hands every time at a restaurant, school, home, or work is one intervention that has the potential to reduce the risk of developing some of the infectious diseases. The researcher interest in the healthy living of the school children prompted her to assess the knowledge, attitude and practice of hand hygiene among secondary school students in EWLGA, Edo state.


To assess the knowledge, attitude and practice of hand hygiene among secondary school students in Esan west Local government, Edo state. The following specific objectives were formulated;

  1. To assess the students’ knowledge of hand washing as a means of preventing infectious diseases
  2. To assess their attitudes towards hand hygiene.
  3. To evaluate the practice of hand hygiene among secondary school students


The following research questions were formulated;

  1. Do secondary school students have knowledge of hand hygiene?
  2. Do secondary school students have positive attitude towards hand hygiene?
  3. Do the secondary school students practice hand hygiene.


The scope of the study is delimited to all secondary students in Esan West Local Government Area Edo State. It includes both public and private secondary schools.


The findings from this study will form a basis for the knowledge, attitude and practice of hand hygiene. It will serve for policy formulation. It will also be help to motivate the policy makers to formulate guide lines on hand hygiene for all school children. It will also help in monitoring and evaluation of all secondary school hand hygiene practices



Knowledge; how much the students know about hand hygiene

Attitude: The settled way of thinking or feeling about hand washing.

Practice; the actual application or use of hand-washing

Hand hygiene; the methods that remove or destroy micro-organisms on the hands. And the most effective is hand-washing

Hand washing; is the act of cleaning hands for the purpose of removing soil, dirt and microorganisms mainly by using water soap.

Secondary school: a school intermediate between primary school and university or orther tertiary institutions; it is a place where secondary education is given and the building where it takes place

Student: a learner or someone who attends an educational institution.