Prevalence of risk factors for trachoma in a rural locality of north-western Ethiopia.
BACKGROUND: In Ethiopia, the prevalence of blindness has been estimated to be 1.5%. According to a survey done in collaboration with WHO in 1981, the leading cause of blindness in Ethiopia was trachoma (42%) followed by cataract (29%). The problem is mainly seen in the rural areas of the country.
OBJECTIVE: To determine the prevalence and associated risk factors of trachoma in a rural locality of north-western Ethiopia.
DESIGN: Cross-sectional survey.
SUBJECTS: One thousand seven hundred and eighteen individuals participated in the study.
MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Grades of trachoma--the WHO simplified method of clinical signs was used to determine the various grades of trachoma.
RESULTS: The overall prevalence rate of trachoma of the locality was 59.2% while the prevalence rate of active trachoma was found to be 52.4%. Higher frequency of trachoma was observed among females aged 15 years and above than males of the corresponding age group, and this finding was statistically significant (chi2-test, p < 0.001). Child care-taking among women, habits and frequency of face washing, presence of cooking places in living rooms and sharing of same rooms with animals have been found to be highly associated with trachoma (p < 0.001).
CONCLUSION: Based on the results of this study, the following recommendations are made, among others: (i) the development of a system aimed at educating and convincing the people to maintain high personal and environmental hygiene and; (ii) the strengthening of the nearby health centres to incorporate activities like correction of lid deformities to prevent further loss of eye vision due to corneal damage are recommended.