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Prevalence of trachomatous inflammation-follicular and associated factors among children aged 1-9 years in northeastern Ethiopia


Background: Trachoma is the most prevalent eye disease in Ethiopia, especially among children aged 1–9 years and continues to be a public health concern. Nevertheless, in Ethiopia’s rural Jamma district in South Wollo Zone of Amhara Regional State, factors associated with trachomatous inflammation-follicular (TF) among children aged 1-9 years have not yet been studied.

Methods: A community-based cross-sectional study was conducted among 616 children aged 1–9 years in rural Jamma district in Ethiopia from January-March, 2019. Data were collected using a pre-tested structured questionnaire, an observation checklist and clinical examination of study participants for active trachoma. The presence of TF and trachomatous inflammation-intense (TI) was clinically assessed by integrated eye care workers using the World Health Organization simplified grading system. Data were analysed using SPSS (Statistical Package for Social Sciences) Version 25.0. A logistic regression model with 95% CI was used. From the multivariable analysis, variables with p-value < 0.05 were declared as associated factors of TF.

Result:  The prevalence of TF was 10.9% (95% CI [8.6 - 13.6%]) among the rural children aged 1-9 years. The mean family size was 5.5 ± 1.9 persons. About one-fifth (20.6%) of households kept domestic animals overnight in the same room as family. Almost one-sixth (17.5%) of the children involved in this study had an ocular discharge. Two-thirds of the children (68.8%) washed their hands once per day and just over half (55.8%) washed their faces once per day. From multivariable analysis, we found that the presence of domestic animals kept overnight in the same room as the family (adjusted odds ratio [AOR] = 4.32; 95%CI [2.49–9.52]), mother’s/caregiver’s illiteracy (AOR = 2.01; 95%CI [1.11–4.67]), household size (> 7 persons) (AOR = 3.50; 95%CI [1.66–8.50]), washing of children’s hands and face without soap (AOR = 2.41; 95%CI [1.29–5.18]), feces observed in the compound (AOR = 5.10; 95%CI [2.01–10.14]), presence of ocular discharge (AOR = 7.23, 95%CI [4.10-12.51]) and nasal discharge (AOR = 4.54, 95%CI [1.95–9.26]) were significantly associated with TF.

Conclusion: The prevalence of TF among rural children aged 1–9 years in this study was almost two times higher than the WHO-recommended threshold (TF < 5%) for trachoma elimination and beyond the trachoma control target (TF < 10%). Presence of domestic animals kept overnight in the same room as the family, mother’s/caregiver’s illiteracy, household size (> 7 persons), washing of children’s hands and face without soap, feces observed in the compound, presence of ocular and nasal discharge were significantly associated with TF. We recommended interventions that will help household income to be improved to enable families to be able to construct separate rooms in which to keep animals overnight. Furthermore, we also recommend to policy makers to design mechanisms for enhancement of behavioural change among householders to keep household compounds clean and creating awareness among mothers/caregivers about prevention of trachoma.

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Journal Article
Altaseb T
Lingerew M
Adane M