The Habitat and Behavioural Environment of Onchocerciasis in Patigi Local Government Area, Kwara State, Nigeria
Although onchocerciasis constitutes a major public health problem in rural Nigeria, the physical and behavioural environment of the disease needs to be adequately studied. The paper examines the physical and socio-economic factors of vulnerability to onchocerciasis in Patigi LGA, Kwara State, Nigeria. Topographical maps and published epidemiological reports are used to analyse people's proximity to vector breeding sites and the disease prevalence respectively. Regression is the major analytical tool. Data show that, the physical environment particularly the water channels which on the average are 388 metres from the villages, as opposed to the vector's flight capacity of over 12 kilometres from the breeding point, provide the conducive breeding condition for the disease vector. Socio-economic characteristics of the people such as occupation (farming 85% and fishing 2%); isolated and dispersed settlement patterns; and dressing pattern expose them to the disease vector bite. Regression analysis shows that there is significant relationship between population size and incidence of onchocerciasis (P<.001). The number of people infected has a direct relationship with population (P<.001), while the intensity of the disease is inversely related to population (P<.05). In conclusion, the study shows that both physical and socio-economic factors determine vulnerability to onchocerciasis. Therefore, onchocerciasis control efforts and rural development planning programme should reflect spatial peculiarities accompanied by public enlightenment campaign on the vulnerability factors.
Keywords: Onchocerciasis, Physical environment, Socio-economic environment, Vulnerability, Patigi LGA
Ethiopian Journal of Environmental Studies and Management Vol. 1 (1) 2008: pp. 44-55