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Assessing the knowledge, training and capacity of health workers in the diagnosis and management of soil-transmitted helminths and schistosomiasis in eastern Uganda.


Background: Neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) affect millions of people in Africa, with Uganda bearing a significant burden. The World Health Organization (WHO) set a goal to reduce NTDs and improve access to diagnosis and management by 2030. However, NTDs have not been well integrated into primary healthcare in many countries, including Uganda, due to limited knowledge and resources among health workers. The study aimed to assess the readiness and capacity of primary healthcare centres to diagnose and manage soil-transmitted helminths (STHs) and schistosomiasis.

Methods: A cross-sectional quantitative study was conducted among 204 health workers in 20 health facilities in four districts bordering Lake Kyoga. In this study we evaluated health workers' knowledge of symptoms, diagnosis and management of STHs and schistosomiasis as well as the availability of resources and training.

Results: Our findings indicate that health workers have strong knowledge about STHs (86.76%), with lower knowledge levels regarding Schistosoma haematobium (59.72%) and Schistosoma mansoni (71.43%). Regarding resources and training, 95% of health facilities had laboratory services, but the majority lacked diagnostic equipment. Furthermore, only 17% of health workers reported prior training on schistosomiasis and related topics and only 25% had training on surveillance and reporting.

Conclusions: While health workers in eastern Uganda demonstrated a good knowledge base for some NTDs, there were knowledge gaps and challenges in training on surveillance and reporting mechanisms. Continuously building the capacity of health workers along with investing in diagnostic infrastructure is essential for improved NTD control and ultimately reducing associated morbidity and mortality in the region.

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Journal Article
Kihumuro R
Kintu T
Atimango L
Kanyike A
Bazira J