Date of Conferral



Doctor of Public Health (DrPH)


Public Health


Cheryl L. Anderson


The street food sector continues to grow in Nigeria in a largely unregulated environment. The lack of regulation poses a significant public health risk for consuming unsafe street foods such as suya. Quantitative research has revealed high levels of microbiological contamination of suya, despite qualitative findings that suggest that food handlers are knowledgeable about safe food handling practices. This discrepancy reveals a gap in understanding about what influences safe food handling practices besides knowledge. This qualitative study was therefore designed to gain a deeper understanding of the beliefs and attitudes that influence hygienic practices among suya producers. Guided by the social cognitive theory, a phenomenological design was used to investigate and describe the hygiene phenomenon. Ten suya operators were recruited in Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory of Nigeria, to participate in the study. Data were collected from interviews and observation of participants. Semistructured, open-ended questionnaires were used in face-to-face interviews to elicit participants' views on hygiene. Hygiene practices among participants were also observed. Information gathered was recorded, stored, transcribed, and analyzed using the NVivo software and based on emerging themes. The findings revealed that participants' understanding of hygiene was related to popular culture rather than science. Furthermore, findings also revealed that family, religious, and cultural beliefs, as well as environmental factors such as consumer attitude influenced their hygiene practices. These findings may provide evidence-based guidance for public health interventions for safer suya production processes with positive social change implications for improved consumer health.