Factors associated with relevant knowledge of intestinal schistosomiasis and intention to participate in treatment campaigns: a cross sectional survey among school children at Ijinga Island on Lake Victoria, North-Western Tanzania.
BACKGROUND: Annual Mass Drug Administration (MDA) using praziquantel targeting primary school children is the main control strategy against schistosomiasis in Tanzania. However, there are concerns about decreasing participation in mass drug administration among primary school children for unknown reasons. Therefore, the aim of this study was to identify factors related to relevant knowledge about schistosomiasis and the intention to participate in mass drug administration among primary school children in order to give recommendations for future projects.
METHODS: A cross sectional, extended knowledge, attitudes and practices (KAP) survey was conducted among 356 primary school children aged 5-17 years in February-March 2016 using a pre-tested questionnaire. This survey was part of a baseline assessment for an integrated proof of concept study aiming towards schistosomiasis elimination on Ijinga Island. Outcomes of interest in logistic regression analysis were relevant knowledge and high intention to participate in treatment campaigns. Explanatory variables were sociodemographic information sources and elements aligned to Protection Motivation Theory (PMT).
RESULTS: Only 17% of the children had relevant intestinal schistosomiasis related knowledge and very few of them knew any of the S. mansoni manifestations and complications. Factors associated with relevant schistosomiasis knowledge were previous diagnosis of schistosomiasis (aOR = 2.43, 95%CI: 1.1-5.6), having heard about schistosomiasis at school (aOR = 9.94, 95%CI: 5.0-19.7) and being enrolled in 6th or 7th grade (aOR = 3.94, 95%CI: 1.3-11.8). Only 40% of the children demonstrated high intention to participate in treatment campaigns. Factors associated with high intention to participate in MDA were previous diagnosis (aOR = 2.23, 95%CI: 1.1-4.7), perceived general risk of disease transmission by lake water (aOR = 1.79, 95%CI: 1.0-3.1), perceived own vulnerability of getting infected (aOR = 5.10, 95%CI: 2.1-12.6), perceived danger of the disease (aOR = 2.47, 95%CI: 1.3-4.8) and the perceived effectiveness of medicaments to cure the disease (aOR = 2.86, 95%CI: 1.4-5.7).
CONCLUSIONS: The minority of the school children had high level of theoretical knowledge about schistosomiasis and a small proportion of the children demonstrated high intention to participate in mass drug administration. In general, practical knowledge on preventive measures such as taking anti-schistosomiasis drug during MDA need to be impacted in school children to increase their participation in the control program.