Effects of Onchocerciasis Manifestations on Academic Performance
AbstractA study of the effects of various manifestations of onchocerciasis namely visual impairment, oncho-rashes (papular oncodermatitis) and palpable nodules on academic performance was undertaken with the objective of finding out the manifestation with the most serious negative effect on academic performance. The study was carried out in Uzo-Uwani Local Government Area of Enugu State, Nigeria between May, 1998 and May, 1999 using the twelve secondary schools in the area. The data on onchocerciasis manifestations were collected by examining randomly selected students from each school while the academic performance of each school was assessed by calculating the weighted average performance of each school using 5-year (1994-1998) Junior Secondary School Certificate results collected from Examinations Development Centre, Enugu. A linear regression analysis was performed between performance and each manifestation of onchocerciasis examined. The results of the analysis showed that visual impairment had the most profound negative effect on academic performance with correlation coefficient r ~ – 0.72. The presence of onho-rashes and the presence of nodules, on the other hand, had no negative effects on academic performance (with correlation coefficient r ~ 0.083 and 0.33 respectively). The implication of the result is that the higher the rate of visual impairment in a school, the poorer the academic performance of such a school. In view of this, it is recommended that every effort be made to prevent impairment of vision in onchocerciasis, which gradually leads to irreversible onchocercal blindness. Such efforts should include a more effective distribution of ivermectin (Mectizan) in order to reduce the parasite reservoir in man, and also breaking the man-fly contact either by use of repellents or through proper covering of the body during outdoor activities.
Key Words: Onchocerciasis, manifestation, academic performance, weighted average, visual impairment.
Bio-Research Vol.1(2) 2003: 77-85