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Water, sanitation and hygiene practices among ethnic communities in Chittagong Hill Tracts, Bangladesh

Author: 
Md. Shohel Mahmud, Shah Mohammad Ashraful Amin, Md. Abdul Wahab Rashed and Rayhan Mahmud
Subject Area: 
Social Sciences and Humanities
Abstract: 

The present study aims to explore the water, sanitation and hygiene practices among ethnic communities in Chittagong Hill Tracts, Bangladesh. This study included all three districts, Rangamati, Khagrachhari and Bandarban of the area. From ten selected villages across all three districts 250 participants, 156 male and 94 female, were selected based on three criteria's, (i) their belonging to ethnic groups in hill tracts, (ii) permanent inhabitance in the hill tracts and (iii) their association with the ‘Jhum’ agriculture practice. Data were collected from the participants deploying both qualitative (key informant interview and transect walks) and quantitative (questionnaire survey) methods. The result illustrates that the ethnic people in the Chittagong Hill Tracts have limited access to safe drinking water, while their sanitation and hygiene practices were also deplorable. The data reveal that poor water, sanitation and hygiene practices have negative impacts not only on the ethnic people’s health as they often suffered from diverse health issues such as diarrhoea, scabies and dysentery but also on their socio-economic lives as they reported often losing income and forced to more expenditure for treatment. The data also show that the mean prevalences' of unhygienic practices among the ethnic people across all the districts were 54.30 per cent (Khagrachhari), 52.20 per cent (Bandarban) and 52.10 per cent (Rangamati), while the mean impacts of unhygienic practices on their health were respectively 44 per cent (Khagrachhari), 42.30 per cent (Rangamati) and 41.30 per cent (Bandarban).

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