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Journal of Water, Sanitation and Hygiene for Development In Press, Uncorrected Proof © IWA Publishing 2013  |  doi:10.2166/washdev.2013.060

School-based intervention: evaluating the role of water, latrines and hygiene education on trachoma and intestinal parasitic infections in Ethiopia

Bizu Gelaye, Abera Kumie, Nigusu Aboset, Yemane Berhane and Michelle A. Williams

Department of Epidemiology, University of Washington School of Public Health, Seattle, WA, USA E-mail: bgelaye@hsph.harvard.edu
Department of Epidemiology, Harvard School of Public Health, 677 Huntington Ave, K 501, Boston, MA, 02115 USA
Faculty of Medicine, Addis Ababa University, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
Addis Continental Institute of Public Health, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
Family Health International, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

First received 25 March 2013; accepted in revised form 11 October 2013. Available online 12 December 2013


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.

Keywords: Ethiopia; intervention; parasitic infection; sanitation; school; trachoma

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