School-based intervention: evaluating the role of water, latrines and hygiene education on trachoma and intestinal parasitic infections in Ethiopia
JOURNAL OF WATER SANITATION AND HYGIENE FOR DEVELOPMENT
Addis Ababa University, Harvard University, University of Washington, University of Washington Seattle, Addis Continental Inst Publ Hlth, Family Hlth Int
We sought to evaluate the impact of a hygiene and sanitation intervention program among school-children to control active trachoma and intestinal parasitic infections. This longitudinal epidemiologic study was conducted among 630 students in rural Ethiopia. Baseline and follow-up surveys were conducted to evaluate the impact of a three-pronged intervention program: (i) construction of ventilated improved pit latrines; (ii) provision of clean drinking water; and (iii) hygiene education. Socio-demographic information was collected using a structured questionnaire. Presence of trachoma and intestinal parasitic infections were evaluated using standard procedures. At baseline, 15% of students had active trachoma, while 6.7% of them were found to have active trachoma post-intervention (p < 0.001). Similar improvements were noted for parasitic infections. At baseline, 7% of students were reported to have helminthic infections and 30.2% protozoa infections. However, only 4% of students had any helminthic infection and 13.4% (p < 0.001) of them were found to have any protozoa infection during follow-up surveys. Improvements were also noted in students' knowledge and attitudes towards hygiene and sanitation. In summary, the results of our study demonstrated that provision of a comprehensive and targeted sanitation intervention program was successful in reducing the burden of trachoma and intestinal parasitic infection among schoolchildren.