BACKGROUND: Water access, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) remain a public health concern in Indonesia. Proper WASH practices can decrease risk of stunting, wasting, and disease in children under the age of 2.
OBJECTIVE: The purpose of our study is to examine if using technology to access health information and services among Indonesian women affects knowledge and behaviors regarding handwashing and defecation practices.
METHODS: Our study is an interview-based cross-sectional survey. Participants included 1734 mothers of children under 2 years of age. These women were randomly selected and interviewed as part of a 3-stage cluster sampling technique. Our study uses data regarding WASH knowledge which includes benefits of handwashing with soap, 5 critical times of handwashing, risks of open defecation, media of disease transmission, defecation locations, and risks of open defecation. Data regarding WASH behaviors were also included: handwashing with soap, type of latrine used at home, and where defecation took place. This investigation used adjusted and unadjusted logistic and linear regression models to determine differences in WASH outcomes between those who use technology to access health information and services and those who did not.
RESULTS: One result is that Indonesian women with children under 2 years of age who use technology to access health information and services are more likely to know the advantages of proper handwashing (odds ratio [OR] 2.603, 95% CI 1.666-4.067) and know the 5 critical times of handwashing (OR 1.217, 95% CI 0.969-1.528). Women who use technology to access health information are also more likely to know the risks of open defecation (OR 1.627, 95% CI 1.170-2.264) and use a type of toilet (such as a gooseneck or squat toilet) that limits risk (OR 3.858, 95% CI 2.628-5.665) compared to women who did not use technology to access health information.
CONCLUSIONS: Using technology to access health information and services was associated with an increase in handwashing and defecation knowledge. In the future, promoting mothers of children under 2 years of age to access health information through technology might be used to increase handwashing and defecation knowledge as well as safe defecation practices. However, further research should be done to determine how technology may increase the frequency of recommended handwashing behaviors.