KNOWLEDGE, ATTITUDE AND PRACTICES REGARDING SCHISTOSOMIASIS IN KITWARA PARISH KIRYANDONGO SUB COUNTY, KIRYANDONGO DISTRICT
OCIBA, JAMES MICHAEL
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Background: Schistosomiasis is the most prevalent neglected tropical disease (NTD) in many developing countries, particularly in Africa which has about 90% of the world’s reported cases. It’s estimated that more than 200 million people are infected with Schistosoma species worldwide, with most prevalence (90%) in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) and mostly in rural areas. It is anticipated that almost 700 million people are at risk of this infection. In Uganda Schistosomamansoniis most common and widespread. In Kitwara Parish, hardly any study has been conducted, and information about the community knowledge, attitude and practices regarding schistosomiasis is hard to find yet it is estimated that about four million Ugandans have bilharziasis and 17 million are at risk of getting the disease. Objective: To assess community knowledge, attitude and practices regarding schistosomiasis in Kitwara parish, Kiryandongo district in order to generate evidence based information to influence intervention tailored to eliminating the disease in the District. Method: This was a descriptive cross-sectional study employing quantitative methods of data collection. Multi stage sampling was used to select households. Data was collected using pre-tested semi-structured questionnaires, cleaned and entered into Epi-data version 3.1. Cleaned data was exported to STATA version 13.0 for analysis. Results are presented using frequency tables and figures. Results:Out of the 241 study respondents, nearly all were peasants 95.8%, more than three quarters married 79.7% and over two thirds were male 69.3%. In addition, 69.7% heard about schistosomiasis before the time of the study and 70.2% were aware of the preventive measures of schistosomiasis. Over quarter 37.5% had no idea of the signs and symptoms of the disease. There was generally good attitude of study respondents towards schistosomiasis with majority 90.0% agreeing that sanitary conditions were important in its prevention. Almost all study respondents 98.3% sought treatment of schistosomiasis from a nearby hospital/clinic. About four in ten (39.4%) reported not to have latrines, with 44.4% reporting swimming/bathing from the lake. Conclusions and recommendations: The study established that there was considerably good knowledge among study respondents regarding schistosomiasis. However, about 37.5% of study respondents had no idea of the signs and symptoms of the disease. There was generally good attitude of study respondents towards schistosomiasis. Although the study established generally good practices like seeking treatment at a health facility (98.3%), latrine ownership at 60.6%, utilization at 73.9% some inappropriate practices, which put community members at risk of acquiring schistosomiasis were also significant, that is to say, swimming and bathing in water at 44.4%. The Public health department of Kiryandongo Sub-county should therefore conduct regular sensitization and health education through radio talk shows so as to further increase on the level of knowledge of community members on schistosomiasis.