Factors predisposing to contamination of ready-to-eat food sold by food vendors in Rubaga Division, Kampala District
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Introduction Consumption of ready-to-eat food sold on streets and workplaces is common in Kampala city. However, the hygienic aspects of food vending operations are of major concern because cholera epidemics have been strongly associated with ready-to-eat food vending in the city. This study looked at food hygiene practices of food vendors in Rubaga division, one of the divisions in Objective The main objective of the study was to establish factors that predispose to food contamination among ready-to-eat food vendors in Rubaga division in order to assist the DHT design strategies to reduce food borne diseases in the division. Methodology A cross sectional study was conducted using both quantitative and qualitative methods. The Keish and Leslie formula of 1965 was used to determine the sample size of 384 respondents. In addition, fifteen key informants were interviewed. Respondents were identified using simple random sampling techniques and data was collected using semi- structured questionnaires, observation checklist and key informant guides. Quantitative data was analyzed using EPI INFO 2002 computer soft ware while qualitative data was analyzed manually with the help of a master sheet. Fifty nine percent of the food vendors were working at vending sites which had no structures. Forty percent of the vendors worked without a litterbin. Food was observed exposed to houseflies in 43.6% of the respondents. Those who were not educated were more likely to work without a litterbin than those who were educated (OR=2.3, 95%C.I=1.36-3.91), and were more likely to expose food to flies (OR=2.02, 95%CI=1.25-3.28). Only 13.3% of the respondents had adequate knowledge on transmission of food borne illness. Only thirty one percent of the respondents knew that period medical examination is important in order to identify diseases of food handlers. Those who were educated were more likely to have adequate knowledge on food borne disease transmission than those who were not educated (OR=9.49, 95%CI=4.70-19.39), and were more likely to undergo medical examination (OR=16.13, 95%CI=8.75-29.95). Sixty percent of the respondents served food when their heads were not covered, only 45% of the food vendors washed their hands adequately and 59% of the respondents were not wearing protective aprons. Respondents who were not educated were more likely to wash hands inadequately compared to those who were educated (OR=5.77, 95%CI=3.37-9.92). About 40% of the food vendors handled cooked food at ground level and 34.5% served food with bare hands. Recommendations There is need for stricter implementation of the food safety code by the division health staff; health inspectors should intensify efforts to monitor conditions of sanitation and hygiene at the vending sites; and the public should play a key role in the food hygiene control system.