Measuring the Impact of Health Education Modules in Cameroon, West Africa

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Each year, more than two million people die from diarrhea-associated diseases. Although there is a global need for safe drinking water, culturally appropriate health teaching is essential to behavior change. This study evaluated the impact of a health education program in a small rural community in Cameroon. Flash cards and a modified version of the CDC-KPC 2000 survey were used to collect data in 57 homes. Children who lived in households with working Manz BioSand filters were less likely to have had diarrhea in the 2 weeks prior to the evaluation. There remained a gap between health knowledge and healthy behaviors for hand hygiene and malaria prevention. This gap was significant in the diarrheal treatment (McNemar's test, p < .000). The interdisciplinary program and 7-year time frame were crucial to sustainability. Faculty and students learned the importance of pairing service learning and research that respect local cultures in fostering a healthier global community.