The Prevalence and Intensity of soil-transmitted helminths and Schistosomiasis (Schistosoma mansoni) among primary school children aged 9-14 years in Tonkolili district, Northern Sierra Leone.
AbstractSoil-Transmitted Helminths (STH) and Schistosomiasis (SCH) infections are public health problems in areas with less improved sanitary conditions and lack of basic social amenities. The human soil-transmitted helminthiasis infections have been reported in many rural communities of the developing world. Global estimates of STH and SCH is over 2 billion of which ascariasis accounts for 1.6 billion while trichuriasis and hookworms account for about 700 – 800 million. The aim of the study was to investigate the prevalence and intensity of soil-transmitted helminths and Schistosomiasis (Schistosoma mansoni) among primary school children in Tonkolili district. The study employed a cross-sectional study design in two chiefdoms within Tonkolili District. In each Chiefdom, one primary school was sampled and in each school, a random sample of 100 pupils was selected. Kato-Katz technique was used to determine prevalence and intensity of STH and SCH infections and data analysis were done using software version EPi info 3.5.3. The study revealed that the overall prevalence of STH parasites is: Ascaris lumbricoides- 5.0% [95%CI(2.1 – 8.4)] and S. Mansoni has a prevalence of 26.0% [95% CI (20.1 – 32.7)]. The overall intensity of STH parasites: Ascaris lumbricoides-5.4epg; Trichuriasis trichiura-0.6epg; Hookworm-22.0epg, and for schistosomiasis; S. Mansoni has an intensity of 47epg. The study concluded that there has been a decrease in the prevalence and intensity of soil-transmitted helminthiasis in the district over the years. The observed low prevalence could be partly due to the preventive chemotherapy that has been going on through mass drug administration’s since 2009 and the ongoing program of treating children under five with anthelminthic drugs during the Mother and Child Health Week twice annually in the entire country. The study recommends that if the observed decrease in low prevalence and intensity of the infections should be sustained, then mass drugs administration should be done every year.