Impact of Guinea Worm Disease on Children in Nigeria

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  • 1 School of Public Health, The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston, Houston, Texas 77225-0186
  • | * Department of Preventive and Social Medicine, University of Ibadan, Ibadan, Nigeria

School attendance records of all primary schools in a guinea worm-endemic village in southwestern Nigeria were examined to determine the cause of missed school days and school drop-outs. At the time of the survey, 1,495 pupils (768 boys and 727 girls) were registered in the 4 primary schools in the village, of which 21% of the pupils were infected with guinea worm disease (GWD). Female pupils had a higher infection rate than their male counterparts. Guinea worm-infected pupils missed up to 25% of school year days compared to a non-guinea worm-infected absence of 2.5%. At the height of guinea worm season in the study area, guinea worm-related absences contributed virtually all of the absenteeism recorded in the schools. Implications of the findings within the context of educational attainment of the pupils are discussed.