Awareness and perception of urinary schistosomiasis among the inhabitant of rural endemic communities in Bende Local Government Area, Abia state, Nigeria
Research has put Nigeria as a country with the highest burden of schistosomiasis in Africa with about 29 million persons living with the disease. Lack of adequate information about the disease has increased the risk of infection in endemic areas. This study evaluated the knowledge and perceptions about urinary schistosomiasis in Bende Local Government Area (LGA) of Abia, where the disease is endemic. A cross-sectional study of 150 consented respondents comprised 30 persons per community (Igbere, Ozuitem, Akoli imenyi, Item and Alayi) were selected using simple random techniques. Structured questionnaires were used to obtain data on their socio-demographic characteristics and information bothering on the knowledge, attitude and perception about urinary schistosomiasis. Less than half 63(42.0 %) of the respondents had the knowledge of the disease. The majority of those who knew about the disease was ignorant of the intermediate host 52(82.5 %) and drug of choice for the treatment 51(81.0 %). A greater number 48(76.2 %) recognized their streams as the source of infection. 1.6 % perceived those living with the disease as people suffering from their wrongdoing. Interestingly, most respondents 99(66.0%) have regular contact with the water bodies in the area and often experience skin itch afterwards 28(18.7 %). The study suggests a low awareness of urinary schistosomiasis in the study area. Health education programmes with emphasis on the intermediate host and the praziquantel for the treatment is recommended for a sustainable elimination strategy.
Keywords: Urinary Schistosomiasis, Schistosoma haematobium, Knowledge, Perception, Bende