Does the Prevailing Awareness Reflect on Hygiene Practices for Handling Fish in Zanzibar?
Zakia M. Abubakar, Rabia, A.R, Ali M. Ussi and Asma, A. Hamad
Risky practices among food handlers are a major contributing factor to food contamination with resultant morbidities and mortalities among food consumers. This study aimed at investigating awareness on marine fish associated diseases and risk practices among marine fish value chain actors in Zanzibar (fishermen, vendors and consumers) and witness if they could contribute on marine food contamination.
This was a cross-sectional research study conducted to asses awareness on marine fish associated diseases and risk practices between February and March 2019. The study utilized structured questionnaire that were administered to 256 respondents. Stratified random sampling was used to select 8 out of 207 fish landing sites from five Zanzibar regions followed by random selection of twenty-four villages, three from each fish landing sites. Pilot study yielded Cronbach’s alpha value of > 0.755 for validity and reliability on questions of awareness and practices. Risk practices assessed were- handwashing after toilet, consumption of spoiled fish, health checkup as well as information sharing practice. Scores of respondents’ answers were summed up and cut off mean was calculated. The results were then used to calculate chi-square and p-values. Odds ratio was also calculated to asses likelihood of association between variables. Data was processed by SPSS version 6.0. Statistical significance was determined at a probability of p≤0.05.
Majority (92%) of the population under study had access to mobile phones. 64.1% were aware and 35.8%) males were 1.6 times more aware than females (p<0.05). 30-39 age group and Secondary school group were 3 times more aware than 20-29 group and Primary school group respectively. 74% of the population find it worth sharing information with others (p<0.001).
Only 50%) of fishermen had regular health checkup compared with 72% of fish vendors and 85% of fish restaurant workers. Majority (64.7%) of fishermen admitted washing hands overboard without soap or any washing facility and differed significantly with other ways of relieving themselves after toilet (p<0.01). Restaurants are 10 times and 2.4 times more likely to AVOID sell of spoiled fish than fishermen and vendors respectively. Greed for money was pointed as reason for selling spoiled fish by 40% of respondents. 28% of fish consumers regularly consume spoiled fish.
Malpractices investigated in this study may all contribute to health risks. High awareness and knowledge on marine fish associated diseases in Zanzibar community were not interpreted into appropriate food handling behavior. Factors that could contribute to the risky practice could include negligence, optimistic bias and illusion of control. Results of this study entail that it is critical for any food safety training conducted in Zanzibar to incorporate behavior based training that will improve food handling practices throughout the food value chain.