Socio-Economic Factors and Cultural Practices influencing the resurgence of Bed Bugs (Cimex Hemipterus); Nakuru town, Kenya.
Mwangi, Dennis Muriithi
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Bed bugs are parasitic insects that feed mostly on blood (human) .The most occurring bed bug, Cimex lactularius is found in almost all continents. Cimex hemipterus commonly known as the Tropical bed bugs resurge in warmer climates like Africa, Asia and America. The objectives of this study was to identify and determine socioeconomic factors, cultural practices that led to resurgence of bed bugs, reasons for residents to deny public health officials access to their homes and to identify methods been used to eradicate the bed bugs in Nakuru County. The study adopted Analytic epidemiological study design using cross-sectional descriptive survey approaches for data collection and used the formula (Mugenda and Mugenda, 1999) in determining the sample size of 422 households. Data collection tools used included questionnaires, KII and FGD. Data gathered from the study was entered into Microsoft Excel spreadsheet and then exported into SPSS software version 24 for data cleaning and analysis. This study sought approval from Mount Kenya University Ethical Review Board (Ref No. MKU/ERC/0890) and the Kenya National Commission for Science, Technology and Innovation–NACOSTI (NACOSTI/P/1821614/23855). Consent to participate in this study was sought from all the heads of households and confidentiality was observed. The results of this study indicates that low income communities are more susceptible to the burden of bed bugs resurgence due to financial constraints and there was a statistical significance between income and presence of bed bugs in the homesteads (χ2 =12, p=0.001). This study found that residents still believe that bed bugs are brought by curses and witch craft and this lack of awareness lead to resurgence of bed bugs and that Public health officials are least sought after to curb bed bugs resurgence in Nakuru County. Majority of the residents who experienced the bed bugs sprayed the bed bugs by themselves in spite availability of professional control and MOH officials. This study in its totality concludes that, current socioeconomic status among the respondents is limiting the fight against bed bugs resurgence, cultural beliefs are limiting the eradication of bed bugs and leads to the resurgence, respondents were not readily open to the idea of Ministry of Health officials eradicating bed bugs in their homesteads and that respondents were not well sensitized to modern control methods which can lead to resurgence of bed bugs. This study further recommends that, County Government should organize communal spraying so to reach each and every household as is highlighted by the FGD with the CHVs, private spraying firms and the Nakuru County Health Department to come up with more affordable methods, enhance surveillance of bed bugs and research as is highlighted in KII with the chief Public health Officer in charge of vector control and motivation of CHVs training and empowerment with equipment in bed bugs prevention and control methods