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Health and Sanitation Practices and Academic Performance of Grade VI Pupils

The provision of health sanitation is a key development intervention – without it, ill health dominates a life without dignity. Simply having access to sanitation increases health, well-being and economic productivity. Inadequate sanitation impacts individuals, households, communities and countries. Despite its importance, achieving real gains in sanitation coverage has been slow. Achieving the internationally agreed targets for sanitation and hygiene poses a significant challenge to the global community and can only be accomplished if action is taken now. Low-cost, appropriate technologies are available. Effective program management approaches have been developed. Political will and concerted actions by all stakeholders can improve the lives of millions of people in the immediate future.

Nearly 40 percent of the world’s population (2.4 billion) has no access to hygienic means of personal sanitation. World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that 1.8 million people die each year from diarrheal diseases, 200 million people are infected with schistosomiasis and more than 1 billion people suffer from soil-transmitted helminthes infections. A Special Session on Children of the United Nations General Assembly (2002) reported that nearly 5,500 children die every day from diseases caused by contaminated food and water because of health and sanitation malpractice.

Increasing access to sanitation and improving hygienic behaviors are keys to reducing this enormous disease burden. In addition, such changes would increase school attendance, especially for girls, and help school children to learn better. They could also have a major effect on the economies of many countries – both rich and poor – and on the empowerment of women. Most of these benefits would accrue in developing nations.

The global community has set ambitious targets for improving access to sanitation by 2015. Achieving these goals will have a dramatic impact on the lives of hundreds of millions of the world’s poorest people and will open the door to further economic development for tens of thousands of communities. Access to adequate sanitation literally signifies crossing the most critical barrier to a life of dignity and fulfillment of basic needs.

This study determined the health and sanitation practices of the Grade VI pupils in selected public schools in the district of Diadi, Province of Nueva Vizcaya, Philippines. This research undertaking utilized the descriptive correlation method of research to establish the influence of the profile variables on the respondents’ health practices, sanitation practices, and their academic performance, as well as the relationship between health and sanitation practices with academic performance. The following are the significant findings of the study:

Twenty five or 37.31 percent of the respondents are 12 years old; 41 or 61.19 percent are female; 47 or 70.14 percent are Roman Catholics; 22 or 32.84 percent are Ilocano; 20 or 20.89 of the respondents’ fathers reached elementary school level; 21 or 31.34 percent of their mothers are college graduates; 50 or 74.63 percent of their fathers are farmers; 38 or 56.72 percent are housekeepers; 34 or 50.75 percent have family income of 5,000.00 and below; 38 or 56.72 percent have 4 to 6 family members; 36 or 53.73 percent have 2 sanitation facilities; and 42 or 62.69 received 5 immunizations.

Health practices in the school obtained a grand mean of 3.89; 3.90 for health practices in the home; and 3.62 for health practices in the community, all qualitatively described as very satisfactory. The respondents perceived their sanitation practices in the school as very satisfactory with a grand mean of 3.44; also very satisfactory for sanitation practices in the home with 3.55; and again, very satisfactory for sanitation practices in the community, with 3.26 grand mean.

The perceived health practices of the respondents in the home significantly differ when they are grouped according to father’s educational attainment, mother’s educational attainment, father’s occupation, mother’s occupation, family monthly income, type of dwelling, and number of sanitation facilities as evidenced by the computed t-test and F-test results of 2.39, 2.64, 3.19, 3.28, 2.93, 3.18, and 3.19 respectively which are higher than the critical value at 0.05 level of significance. On the other hand, age, gender, mother’s educational attainment, mother’s occupation, type of dwelling, and number of sanitation facilities caused significant differences in the perceived health practices of the respondents in the school as shown by the computed t-test and F-test results of 3.15, 2.03, 2.39, 3.18, 3.16, and 3.74, respectively; all are higher than the critical values at 0.05 level of significance. Significant differences were also noted in the respondents’ health practices in the community when they are grouped according to ethnicity, father’s educational attainment, mother’s educational attainment, father’s occupation, mother’s occupation, family monthly income, number of sanitation facilities, and number of immunization received because the computed t-test and F-test results of 2.76, 2.37, 2.41, 3.148, 3.16, 2.79, 3.26, and 3.17 respectively are higher that the critical values at 0.05 level of significance.

There exists a significant difference in the respondents’ sanitation practices in the home when they are grouped according to gender, ethnicity, father’s educational attainment, mother’s educational attainment, family monthly income, type of dwelling, and number of sanitation facilities because the computed values of t-test and F-test results of 2.05, 2.79, 2.37, 2.51, 2.78, 3.29, and 3.16 respectively are higher than the critical values at 0.05 level of significance. Moreover, gender, ethnicity, father’s educational attainment, mother’s educational attainment, family monthly income and number of sanitation practices caused significant variation in the respondents sanitation practices in the school as evidenced by the computed values of 2.15, 2.81, 2.42, 2.87, 2.83, and 3.79 respectively; all are also higher than the critical values at 0.05 level of significance. On the other hand, the respondents perception of their sanitation practices in the community differs when they are grouped according to gender, father’s educational attainment, mother’s educational attainment, father’s occupation, mother’s occupation, family monthly income and number of sanitation facilities since the computed t-test and F-test results of 2.06, 2.37, 2.41, 3.17, 3.148, 2.78, and 3.25 respectively are higher than the critical values at 0.05 level of significance.

There exists a significant difference in the respondents’ academic achievements when grouped according to gender, as indicated by the computed value of 2.27, which is higher than 1.99 critical values. Father’s and mother’s educational attainment with the computed values of 2.74 and 2.64, respectively, both higher than the critical value of 2.368, and their occupation with 3.17 and 3.27, respectively both higher than the critical value of 3.142 constitute significant variance in the respondents’ academic performance. Family monthly income and number of immunizations received, with the computed values of 2.86 and 3.19, respectively which are higher than the critical values of 2.754 and 3.142, respectively significantly differentiated the respondents’ academic performances. The rest of the variables – age, religion, ethnicity, number of family members, type of dwelling, and number of sanitation facilities do not cause significant differences because the computed values of 2.94, 1.86, 2.71, 2.89, 1.97, and 3.08 respectively were lower than the critical values at 0.05 level of significance.

There is very significant relationship between health practices and sanitation practices as evidenced by the computed r-value of 0.72 which is higher than the critical value of 0.241 for 65 degrees of freedom at 0.05 level of significance, indicating high correlation, with a coefficient of determination of 51.84 percent.

There exists a very small positive correlation between health practices and academic performance, as indicated by the computed r-value of 0.238 with an equivalent computed t-value of 2.198 which is higher than the critical t-value of 1.99 for 65 degrees of freedom at 0.05 level of significance. The said correlation is significant. Moreover, sanitation practices and academic performance have small positive correlation, as evidenced by the computed r-value of 0.226 with an equivalent computed t-value of 2.07 which is higher than the critical t-value of 1.99 for 65 degrees of freedom at 0.05 level of significance. This result is statistically inferred as significant.

Based on the foregoing significant findings, hereunder are the conclusions.

1. The respondents are in their pre-adolescence stage, female, Roman Catholics, Ilocano, have fathers who reached elementary level, mothers who are college graduates, have fathers who are farmers, have mothers who are housekeeper, have low income, belong to medium-sized families, have concrete dwellings, have limited sanitation facilities and adequate immunization received.

2. The respondents also have very satisfactory health practices at home, in the school, and in the community. The same group of respondents has very satisfactory sanitation practices at home, in the school, and satisfactory sanitation practices in the community.

3. The respondents have proficient academic performance.

4. Health and sanitation practices of the respondents differ when they are grouped according to selected profile variables.

5. Academic performance of the respondents differs when they are grouped according to gender, parents’ occupation, family income and number of immunizations received, but not with age, ethnicity, number of family members, type of dwelling and number of sanitation facilities.

6. Very significant relationship exists between health practices and sanitation practices of the respondents.

7. Very significant correlation exists between the respondents’ health and sanitation practices and their academic performance.

Premised on the above-cited findings and conclusions, the following recommendations are offered:

1. Although the respondents demonstrate very satisfactory health and sanitation practices, these should still be enhanced and sustained by implementing various health and sanitation programs.

2. The school, as the lead agency, should orchestrate its efforts with other government agencies, such as the DOH, DSWD, DENR, LGU and non-government sectors for the sustainability of health and sanitation programs.

3. Activities geared towards sustainability of health and sanitation must be designed/conceptualized, such as conduct of search for healthiest pupil, most sanitary classroom/school and should be expanded to the home and community.

4. The scheme of having teacher-coordinators for each purok should be strengthened so that the health and sanitation thereat be improved and maintained.

5. Since there is significant relationship between health and sanitation practices and pupils’ academic performance, schools must spearhead the provision of health and sanitation facilities to keep pupils always reminded of their health and sanitation practices.