Microbial foodborne illnesses in Bahrain : a strategy to empower the community, enhance the environment and improve resources to control such hazards
This descriptive study was conducted in the State of Bahrain using: firstly, a questionnaire for students in the final year of their school education, together with a similar questionnaire for their parents, teachers and all Bahraini health promoters; secondly, focus group interviews; thirdly, hazard analyses critical control point (HACCP) model and a checklist to assess schools' canteen, and finally, an evaluation of school's textbooks and health education materials. The study was designed to answer three principal research questions: 1. Do Bahrainis have appropriate knowledge, healthy beliefs and opinions which will empower them to control food poisoning; 2. Are the canteen environments and the practices within the canteens supportive to health; 3. Do school textbooks and health education materials empower the community in food safety? This study describes for the first time the knowledge, attitudes, beliefs of students, parents, teachers, and health promoters in food safety and HACCP in schools and TLMs and linked these three areas to suggest empowering control measures. The results of this study indicate that future health promotion programmes should start at primary school level and teachers need to be further trained in environmental health issues. Canteen environment, and practices need to be further addressed by authorities. Particular attention should be focused on the critical control points which are the time of preparation, transportation, storage and temperature control during display of foods. There is a need for providing appropriate resources which influence learning and community empowerment. Recommendations also suggested the implementation of the Ottawa Charter for Health Promotion which mobilises all the community, resources and the media.