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Soil-transmitted helminthiases among school-age children and their association with water, sanitation, and hygiene, Hawassa City, Southern Ethiopia


Background: Soil-transmitted helminthes pose the main health impact in tropical and sub-tropical regions, with children being at increased risk of infection. This study assessed the prevalence of soil transmitted helminthes among school children and their association with water, sanitation, and hygiene condition in Hawassa City, southern Ethiopia.

Methodology/Principal findings: A cross-sectional study design was employed on randomly selected 549 school-age children from 11 schools by using a multistage sampling method. Data were collected using a structured questionnaire and observation checklist. Stool samples were collected and tested as fresh within 2 hours using the Kato-Katz technique as standard procedure. Data were analyzed by SPSS software; results were summarized using descriptive statistics, and a logistic regression model. Levels of considerable tests were determined with a 95% confidence interval and P-values <0.05. The overall prevalence of soil-transmitted helminthes was 49.7% (95% CI: 45.7%, 53.9%). Overall, water and latrines services were below the standard of 20 liters per person per day and one latrine seat per 50 boys and 25 girls respectively. In particular, no habit of washing hands with water and soap, 1.9%, (95% CI: 1.2%, 3.0%); inaccessible to safe drinking water, 10.8%, (95% CI: 3.96%, 30.26%); inaccessible to improved latrine, 10.8%, (95% CI: 1.5%, 78.4%); and practicing open defecation at school compound, 9.4%, (95% CI: 1.5%, 57.2%) were the main issues of concern observed.

Conclusions/Significance: Almost half of the studied children were infected with one or more soil-transmitted helminthes. Schools had inadequate water, sanitation, and poor personal hygiene practices. The infection by soil-transmitted helminthes among school children was high. This study has indicated that water, sanitation, and hygiene-related factors were the main risk factors for helminthes infestation in the study area. The school community needs to focus on actions that promote hygiene practices in the school.

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Journal Article
Bokicho B
Hailu D
Eshetu B
Matie M
Tadele T
Ekpo UF