Evaluating a school-based trachoma curriculum in Tanzania
HEALTH EDUCATION RESEARCH
Helen Keller Int, Tumaini Univ KCMC
Trachoma remains a public health problem in a number of sub-Saharan Africa countries; behavioral change and environmental improvements are cornerstones of prevention efforts. Evidence of successful health education are few in Africa. Health education efforts through primary schools have recently been developed and adopted in Tanzania. We evaluated changes from 2004 to 2005 in knowledge and reported behavioral change as well as nasal and ocular discharge and clean faces in selected schools in central Tanzania. This was a mixed-methods study involving both schoolchildren and schoolteachers. We found a significant reduction in nasal discharge (from 4.5% to 0.5%) and dirty faces (from 3.6% to 0.9%) and improvements in some knowledge- and behavior-related indices by primary schoolchildren in the intervention villages. The teachers viewed the trachoma curriculum positively but reported that the lack of water at the schools limited application of the health education messages. The disparity between health education messages and environmental capacities for implementing these messages (no wells at the schools and minimal latrine facilities at the schools and homes) limited usefulness of the curriculum.