KNOWLEDGE, ATTITUDE AND PRACTICES OF FOODSTUFF SELLERS ON LASSA FEVER IN MAJOR MARKETS IN IBADAN
Lassa fever is an endemic disease and a public health problem in Nigeria. While studies on it have largely been community and hospital based; there exists an empirical gap on the knowledge, attitudes and practices of market foodstuff sellers towards Lassa fever. This study thus, examined the knowledge, attitudes and practices of food stuff sellers on Lassa fever in two major markets in Ibadan, Oyo-State. The study which was cross-sectional research design, was exploratory and explanatory. It also adopted qualitative method of data collection which entailed use of In-depth interviews and observation. Purposive sampling technique was utilised in the selection of study area and study population. Conceptual content and thematic analyses were used to analyse the qualitative data. Majority of the interviewees were aware of Lassa fever but few had adequate knowledge about it. Majority of the market sellers adopt rat controlling measures such as use of chemicals and covering of holes. They also adopted safe food handling practices such as storage of food in tied-mouth sacks and covered bowls. However, they are challenged by risk of food poisoning by chemicals, dirty drainages, un-cleared refuse dumps and high costs of chemicals in their bid to control rat infestation. There is an urgent need to increase knowledge level among traders. It is also important for the concerned authorities to assist in providing adequate store and stall for users. Foodstuff sellers should also engage in good sanitary practices and fumigation of market stalls should be handled by experts to prevent food poisoning.
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