Study on prevalence and nutritional effect of Helminthis infection in pre-school rural children in Nigeria
Helminthiasis and malnutrition have remained major problems especially in the tropics. In view of this, this study sets out to determine the relationship between Helminthic infection and nutritional status of preschool children in the rural area where majority of them live as well as the prevalence of Helminthic infection. The study was a community-based cross sectional survey. Three hundred and five children attending a daycare centre and pre-primary home lessons in a rural community- Ode Remo, Ikenne Local Government, Ogun State, Nigeria were recruited for the study. Out of these, fecal samples from only two hundred and twenty-six of them were considered suitable for analysis. Saline suspension of stool specimens from the children was examined under the microscope. The stool specimens were positive for intestinal helminth in 116 cases (51.3%). Of this, the majority with positive yield, forty-eight (41.3%) was from age group 48-60 months. Eighty-six (74.1%) of the children whose stool was positive for helminth were malnourished. Ascaris lumbricoides was the commonest intestinal helminth in 38.1% of the cases. There is a strong association between parasitic infection and malnutrition (χ2=13.84, p value=0.02). In conclusion, helminthiasis remains a common health problem among preschool children in the rural area. Its association with malnutrition dictates that urgent steps need to be taken to prevent children from being infested if under-five mortality is to be reduced. This may be achieved through improvement in sanitary conditions of the environment, and nutrition of the child.
Nigerian Medical Practitioner Vol. 54 (1) 2008: pp.16-20