A comparative study of chronic lymphatic filariasis-related knowledge, attitudes and perception among three ethnic groups in Benue State, Nigeria

  • EA Omudu
  • FC Okafor


The paucity of socio-cultural data and a lack of understanding and documentation of lymphatic filariasis. socio-economic consequences have led to a gross underestimation of its impact in Nigeria. However, to increase the success of elimination strategies, the socio-cultural understandings of affected community groups are pivotal in achieving sustainability, local participation and ownership. As part of an effort to encourage community participation in lymphatic filariasis elimination
activities, we investigated lymphatic filariasis-related knowledge, attitude and perception (KAP) of the three major ethnic groups in Benue State; Nigeria. Questionnaires were developed after preliminary interaction with community members and employed to investigate community KAP. Atotal of 1,610 questionnaires were analysed, the Tiv ethnic group accounted for
47.0 %, the Idoma group was 37.1% and the Igede group 14.9%. There was a significant difference in ethnic perception of the cause of the disease, with 61.8% of the Igede respondents attributing the cause of the disease to stepping on charm compared to 47.1% and 36.8% of the Tiv and Idoma respondents respectively (X2 = 6.71, df = 2, p < 0.05). Only 19.5% of the Igede respondents correctly ticked mosquitoes as the cause of the disease compared to 36.2% and 56.6% of the Tiv and Idoma
respondents respectively (p < 0.05). The Igede ethnic group appears to be more superstitious in their beliefs and perceptions. Several areas of community misconceptions, lack of knowledge or erroneous beliefs and practices were identified in this study. The communities. capacity to protect themselves is hindered by a lack of understanding of the causes, symptoms, transmission route, prevention and treatment of the disease. The challenge for the Nigerian Lymphatic Filariasis Elimination Programme
is to translate this information into practical ways of promoting and improving lymphatic filariasis prevention, control and management for individuals and communities.

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eISSN: 1117-4145