Knowledge, practices and perceptions of geo-helminthes infection among parents of pre-school age children of Coastal region, Kenya

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Abstract

Background: Soil-transmitted helminthes (STHs) are common human parasitic diseases in most of the developing world particularly in Kenya. The ongoing National School-Based Deworming Programme (NSBDP) was launched in 2012 and is currently targeting 28 of the 47 endemic Counties. In an effort to improve treatment intervention strategies among Pre-School Age Children (PSAC) attending Early Childhood Development Centres (ECDC), we sought to assess parents’ knowledge, perceptions and practices on worm infection. Methodology: We conducted a qualitative cross-sectional study in four endemic sub-counties of two counties of coastal region of Kenya. A total of 20 focus group discussions (FGDs) categorized by gender were conducted among parents of pre-school age children. Participants were purposively selected based on homogenous characteristics with the saturation model determining the number of focus group discussions conducted. The data collected was analyzed manually by study themes. Findings: The majority of the parents had knowledge on worms and modes of transmission of the parasitic infections among the pre-school children. Also, most of the participants knew the causes of worm infection and the pre- disposing factors mentioned included poor hygiene and sanitation practices. Due to poor knowledge of signs and symptoms, misconceptions about the drugs administered during the NSBDP were common with a large majority of the parents indicating that the drugs were ineffective in worm control. The findings also indicated that most of the participants sought medical care on the onset of the signs and symptoms of worm infestation and preferred services provided at public health facilities as opposed to private health facilities or buying drugs from the local market citing mistrust of such services. Cultural beliefs, high cost of building and availability of vast pieces of land for human waste disposal were factors that contributed to low or lack of latrine ownership and usage by a large majority of the respondents. Conclusions: Our results show that to a large extent the parents of the pre-school age children have information on worm infections. However, some cultural beliefs and practices on the pathology and mode of transmission mentioned could be a hindrance to prevention and control efforts. There is need to implement health promotion campaigns to strengthen the impact of control strategies and reduce infection.

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Masaku, J., Mwende, F., Odhiambo, G., Musuva, R., Matey, E., Kihara, J. H., … Njomo, D. W. (2017). Knowledge, practices and perceptions of geo-helminthes infection among parents of pre-school age children of Coastal region, Kenya. PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases, 11(3). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pntd.0005514

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