|dc.description.abstract||Intestinal Schistosomiasis (SCH) and Soil Transmitted Helminithiasis (STH) are among the major public health problems in the world, especially in Sub-Saharan Africa. About 2 billion people are affected and that 300 million are ill as a result of these infections, the majority being children. In developing countries like Tanzania, poverty, poor nutrition, inadequate sanitation, lack of clean drinking-water and minimal health care makes the situation worse. The highest rates of infection are often in school aged children (5-15 years). This study was conducted to determine the prevalence and risk factors of intestinal SCH and STH and their association to nutritional status among school going children in Kilombero District of Tanzania.
A cross-sectional study was conducted involving 403 school going children in Kilombero district, Tanzania. A structured questionnaire was used to collect demographic information and risk factors. Stool samples were collected and analyzed for worm eggs using Kato-Katz technique for quantification of the eggs. Anthropometric data were collected and entered into the WHO AnthroPlus program to obtain nutritional status based on Z-scores while demographic information and risk factors were entered in an excel data sheet. Data was analyzing in STATA. Chi-square or F-test was used where appropriate to measure the association of hookworm worm infections and risk factors, also association of demographic information and nutritional status. Furthermore, simple logistic regression was used to measure the strength of association.
The prevalence of hookworm infection, wasting, underweight and stunting was 1.5%, 16.8%, 24.2% and 46.1% respectively. Eggs of Schistosoma mansoni, Trichuris trichiura and Ascaris lumbricoides were not detected. Children without toilets at their homes were 7.3 times more likely to be infected with hookworm than those with toilets (OR = 7.3, 95% CI = 1.4 - 37.1, p = 0.017), also participants who had not received anthelminthitic drugs (Albendazole, Mebendazole, Praziquantel or Ivermectin) in the last Mass Drug Administration were 7.6 times more likey to be infected with hookworm than those who received (OR = 7.6, 95% CI = 1.5-38.9, p = 0.015). Males had 2.43 times higher odds of stunting than girls (OR = 2.43, 95% CI = 1.63-3.65, p < 0.001), however children aged from 5-9 years had 0.32 times less odds of stunting than children 10-15 years (OR = 0.32, 95% CI = 0.19-0.51), p < 0.001).
There is a substantially low prevalence of intestinal SCH and STH (predominantly hookworms), and therefore they do not have a public health impact in school going children in the study area. The observed high prevalence rates of under nutrition (stunting, underweight and wasting) may not be associated with helminths infection, signifying that it could be allied with other factors not investigated in this study such as malnutrition.||en