Background The role of health education in the control of schistosomiasis cannot be over-emphasised. Central to its utility is an understanding of the way a community perceives, understands and can explain how schistosomiasis occurs among them.
Methods In order to study the environmental, social and cultural determinants of continued schistosomiasis prevalence in Eggua, we administered a semi-structured questionnaire to 371 adults and 265 children between November 2012 and December 2015. We asked questions about their occupation, present and previous water contact pattern, knowledge of schistosomiasis, sanitation, smoking and alcohol behaviour and length of residence in the village.
Results The respondents ranged in age from 35 to above 60 years; 45% had no schooling and 30% had a least a primary education. Most were farmers (48%) and traders (30%) with a small number (2%) of fisher-folk and had been at this work for more than 15 years. The majority (93%) were Christian, of a denomination in which members spend long periods in the river praying. The rivers are the main source of water for a large number of respondents (63%). Water contact is frequent: 90% go at least daily to the rivers. All the respondents worked at non-itinerant jobs. Despite the research surveys were taking place in Yewa since 2009, 90% of respondents did not know the cause of blood in urine and self-reported haematuria was low (4.6%). Many homes did not have a latrine. Children respondents also didn't have knowledge of the cause of schistosomiasis (60%); those who had heard about it were not well educated on ways to avoid being infected; and 83% did not know they could be re-infected after treatment.
Conclusions Formal health education initiatives for the control of schistosomiasis in Eggua are imperative and these findings should be taken into account in designing them.
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