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Positive impact of preventative chemotherapy during a national helminth control program: Perception and KAP

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Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0008494
JournalPLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases
Volume14
Issue number8
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 24 Aug 2020

Abstract

Background

Helminth control at the national level is currently based on mass drug administration(MDA) programs. Perception of the MDA programs for helminth control by the affected populations influences compliance and future designs of the programs. We determined the perception of Zimbabwe’s National Helminth Control Program (2012-2017) with a specific focus on schistosomiasis in the school children treated with praziquantel,schoolteachers and village health workers (VHW).

Methods and Principal findings

The study enrolled 409 children from Grades 6 and 7 who had the full benefit of the 6 years of MDA from 2012 to 2017. Thirty-six schoolteachers and 22 VHW serving the schools were also recruited. A structured questionnaire developed in English, translated into the local language Shona, and validated prior to the study was administered to the children and the adults. The questions focused on the perceived impact on health,school attendance and performance and Knowledge Attitudes and Practice (KAP)among the school children. Data were captured electronically on android platforms using the Open Data Kit. Overall, 84% of the children responded that their awareness of schistosomiasis(transmission, disease, treatment and infection avoidance) had improved because of participating in the MDAs. Of the 151 children self-diagnosed with schistosomiasis, 74%reported that their health had improved following treatment with praziquantel. This included resolution of haematuria, painful urination, sore stomach, tiredness and falling asleep during class lessons. The children and teachers reported improvements in both pupil school attendance and performance at school while the VHW and teachers reported an increase in health-seeking behaviour amongst the school children for schistosomiasis treatment in-between MDAs. The majority of VHW (96%) reported improvement in hand washing behaviour, schistosomiasis awareness (96%) and treatment uptake (91%) within the communities where the school children belonged.However, only 59% of the VHW reported improvement in toilet use while only 50% of the VHW reported improvement in clean water use within their communities.

Conclusions and Significance
This study indicated that the surveyed children perceived the MDA program had improved their health, school attendance, school performance and awareness of schistosomiasis. The VHW also perceived that the MDA program had improved the community KAP.

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