Health seeking behaviour and traditional management practices for symptoms of Onchocerciasis by residents of the Hawal River Valley, Nigeria

  • IC Okoye


The health-care seeking behaviour of onchocerciasis infected residents of the Hawal River Valley; North Eastern Nigeria was investigated among 423 infected subjects using structured questionnaires, Focus Group Discussions and In-depth studies. The objectives of the investigationswere to determine the preferred forms of treatment and management practices for different symptoms of onchocerciasis. Result obtained showed that overall; self-medication (272%) was the most preferred form of treatment, followed by traditional healing or herbal treatment (251%) while visits to hospitals/clinics (128%) were the least preferred. %). The differences between thenumber of people seeking the various types of treatment was found satistically significant (p>0.05). Generally, the form of treatment sought depended on the particular symptoms. For example, whie 65.0% of those having musculoskeletal pains; 40.2% of those having pruritis and 34.8% of the visually impaired sought treatment from the drug hawkers/drug stores; none of those with LS, nodules, hydrocoele/elephantiasis and blindness patronised them. The symptoms forwhich treatment was sought most were musculoskeletal pains (467%) and pruritis (38.0%) and those for which least treatment were sought were leopard skin (1.3%) and blindness (1.3%). The result of the Focus Group Discussion (FGD) showed that screening of doors and windows was the most popular method (453%) of vector (Simulium) control. Personal hygiene (43.0%) and steam-bath (313%) were the most popular ways ofprevention and management of pruritis (craw-craw) respectively while no traditional medication was found potent for the treatment or reversal of severe visual lesion and blindness.

Health-care, Onchocerciasis, Treatment, Management, Blindness

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eISSN: 1597-3115