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Knowledge and belief about cause and prevention of onchocerciasis in Bebeka, southwest Ethiopia

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journal contribution
posted on 2023-06-07, 07:07 authored by Daniel Yirga, Kifle Woldemichael, Mekite Wondafrash, Wondwossen Kassahun, Kebede Kassaye
BACKGROUND: Ignorance and incorrect beliefs can lead to negligence in prevention, control measures and in seeking appropriate treatment. Involvement of individuals and communities is an important component of Onchocerciasis control activities. To attain community participation and design socially acceptable control strategies, researchers must be familiar with people’s knowledge, beliefs and behavior in relation to Onchocerciasis. Such information is scanty as very few studies have been carried out to understand these issues. The objective of this study was to investigate people’s knowledge and beliefs in relation to the cause and prevention of onchocerciasis in rural areas of Southwest Ethiopia. METHODS: A cross-sectional study was conducted in February 2008 among 450 study participants selected by multistage probability sampling. Data were collected using a pre-tested interviewer administered structured questionnaire which then were analyzed using SPSS for windows version 11.5. RESULTS: All the 450 respondents had heard about onchocerciasis. A range of causes for onchocerciasis were identified. Overall, 248 (55.3%) of respondents had at least one misconception about the cause of onchocerciasis. There is a range of misconceptions about modes of transmission including contact with infected person, airborne, sharing cloths and sexual. Only 10% knew that black fly breeding in fast flowing rivers and streams as a cause for the transmission. Overall 397(88.2%) said that onchocerciasis is preventable, out of which 376 (94.7%) indicated use of drug as the means of preventing onchocerciasis. Nearly three-forth of respondents 334 (74.3%) rated the severity of onchocerciasis as high. Nearly half (48%) rated the magnitude of onchocerciasis in their village as high, and 195 (43.3%) of them stated that they are highly at risk. CONCLUSIONS: While Onchocerciasis is endemic in the study area, large proportion of the community held misconceptions about its causation, transmission, prevention and risk. Therefore, community interventions for onchocerciasis need to include behaviour change communications aimed at dispelling misconceptions and increasing risk perception.


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Ethiopian Journal of Health Sciences




Jimma University





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  • Global Health and Infection Publications

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