Assessment of demographic, health and nutrition related factors to a school performance among school children in Arb-Gebeya Town, Tach-Gaynt Woreda, South Gondar, Ethiopia
Ethiopian Journal of Health Development
Wolaita Sodo University, Ethiopia; Addis Ababa University, College of Health Sciences, School of Public Health, Ethiopia
Background: Intestinal parasite and malnutrition are prevalent among children in general and school aged children in particular, in the Ethiopian context. There is limited information how these factors are associated with school performance. Objective: This study assessed the effect of intestinal parasitic infection and nutritional status on academic performance of school children. Methods: A school-based cross-sectional survey was conducted among randomly selected 601 school childrenattending grades 5th-8th. Data was collected using standardized, closed ended and coded questionnaire. Physical health assessment, parasitological laboratory examinations and anthropometric measurements were the means used to assess the presence of parasitic infections and nutritional status. Grade scores were used to evaluate school performance. Graduate nurses and laboratory technicians were involved in the data collection. EPO INFO version 6.04 and SPSS version 13.0 were used for data management and analysis, respectively. Results: Out of the 601 students, who had stool examination, 216 (35.9%) had at least one parasite. Of those, the dominant parasite was E-histolytica, 80 (13.3%), followed by ascariasis, 50 (8.3%). The prevalence of underweight (BMI value below the 5th percentile) in the area was 30(5%) in all age groups.The mean of the students' grade is 62.25% (SD±9.25). Three hundred twenty-eight (54.6%) of the students had scored below the mean. The rate of absenteeism in the group below five days was 540 (74.9%) students who had parasitic infection were less likely to achieve higher academic performance than those who had not (AOR=0.58, 95% CI: 0.41-0.83). Nutritional status as measured by BMI did not shows an association with academic performance. Conclusion: Even though the prevalence of intestinal parasites in the area seemed low, it affected school performance in the Arb-Gebeya school. However, nutritional status did not affect academic performance according to this study.