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Community Knowledge, Attitudes and Practices on Schistosomiasis in Western Kenya-The SCORE Project

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  • Neglected Tropical Diseases Branch, Centre for Global Health Research, Kenya Medical Research Institute, Kisumu, Kenya; Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Division of Parasitic Diseases and Malaria, Atlanta, Georgia; ContextFACTOR Solutions, Nairobi, Kenya

In an effort to improve intervention strategies, community knowledge, attitudes, and practices on schistosomiasis were evaluated using focus group discussions involving 237 participants, in eight Schistosoma mansoni high prevalence districts in rural Nyanza Province, Kenya. The majority of participants reported having heard about schistosomiasis through schools, posters, radio announcements, and community gatherings. Participants had a variety of beliefs about contracting schistosomiasis, including associating it with dirty drinking water and uncooked or contaminated food. Avenues for seeking treatment included health centers, spiritual intervention, herbal treatments, and medicine shops, with health centers receiving the most mention. Barriers to schistosomiasis control included attitudes of community members toward the infection, especially misconceptions that lead to stigma and the perception that diagnosis and treatment are expensive. Schools were the most common avenue for receiving information, suggesting that the existing education infrastructure can be used for health education and improved sensitization about schistosomiasis control programs.

Author Notes

* Address correspondence to W. Evan Secor, Division of Parasitic Diseases and Malaria, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 1600 Clifton Road, Atlanta, GA 30341-3724. E-mail: was4@cdc.gov

Financial support: The study was funded by the University of Georgia Research Foundation, Inc., which is funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

Authors' addresses: Rosemary M. Musuva, Alphonce Awiti, Martin Omedo, Michael Ogutu, and Pauline N. M. Mwinzi, Neglected Tropical Diseases Branch, Centre for Global Health Research, Kenya Medical Research Institute (KEMRI), Kisumu, Kenya, E-mails: RMusuva@kemricdc.org, AAwiti@kemricdc.org, martowino007@yahoo.com, michaelogutu06@yahoo.com, and PMwinzi@kemricdc.org. W. Evan Secor and Susan P. Montgomery, Division of Parasitic Diseases and Malaria, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA, E-mails: was4@cdc.gov and zqu6@cdc.gov. Jane Alaii, Context FACTOR Solutions, Nairobi, Kenya, E-mail: alaiij@yahoo.co.uk.

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