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Community knowledge, perceptions and water contact practices associated with transmission of urinary schistosomiasis in an endemic region: a qualitative cross-sectional study

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Kinung’hi, Safari M. 
Buza, Jorum 
Mwanga, Joseph R. 
Kariuki, Henry Curtis 


Abstract: Background: In an effort to complement the current chemotherapy based schistosomiasis control interventions in Shinyanga district, community knowledge, perceptions and water contact practices were qualitatively assessed using focus group discussions and semi structured interviews involving 271 participants in one S. haematobium prevalent community of Ikingwamanoti village, Shinyanga district, Northwestern, Tanzania. Methods: In October, 2016 we conducted 29 parent semi structured interviews and 16 focus group discussions with a total of 168 parent informants. Adult participants were conveniently selected from three sub-villages of Butini, Miyu, and Bomani of Ikingwamanoti village, Shinyanga district. In March, 2017, a total of 103 children informants participated in 10 focus group discussions and 20 semi structured interviews, administered to children from standard four, five, six and seven attending Ikingwamanoti Primary School. Note taking and digital recorders were used to collect narrative data for thematic analysis of emergent themes. Results: Among participants, 75% parents and 50% children considered urinary schistosomiasis as a low priority health problem. Of the informants, 70% children and 48.3% parents had misconceptions about the cause, modes of transmission and control of schistosomiasis demonstrating gaps in their biomedical knowledge of the disease. Assessment of treatment seeking behavior for urinary schistosomiasis revealed a combination of traditional and modern health care sectors. However, modern medicines were considered effective in the treatment of urinary schistosomiasis. Lack of alternative sources of water for domestic and recreational activities and unhygienic water use habits exposed community members to high risk of acquiring urinary schistosomiasis. Conclusion: Use of Schistosoma haematobium contaminated water sources for daily domestic and recreational use facilitated contraction of urinary schistosomiasis among community members in Shinyanga district. People’s perceptions of urinary schistosomiasis as a less priority health problem promoted persistence of the disease. Future efforts to control urinary schistosomiasis should take into account integrated approaches combining water, sanitation and hygiene, health education, alternative sources of clean and safe water to facilitate behavior change.



Research Article, Perceptions, Urinary schistosomiasis, Water contact, Practices

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BMC Public Health

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BioMed Central