A Comparison of the Use of Height to Weight in Ivermectin Delivery in Mass Treatment of Onchocerciasis
Current efforts at controlling parasitic disease entail prior rapid diagnosis of the infection communities and individuals before intervention. Onchocerciasis is a major public health problem in Nigeria that is receiving quality attention through mass annual treatment with ivermectin. The fact that most affected communities are difficult to reach necessitated a search for the most appropriate approach at reaching them. It is in this respect that the World Health Organization (WHO) developed the Community Directed Treatment approach in mass treatment of the disease. This had enabled previously neglected by highly needy communities to benefits from control programme irrespective of literacy level and health infrastructure. According to drug manufactures, weight is usually the means to determine dosage but given the difficulty associated with the use and availability of weighting scales in most onchocerciasis affected communities in a Community Director approach to treatment, the use of height, which is far easier to comprehended and use have been adopted in onchocerciasis control. The aim of the present study is to compare the height with the use of height with the use of weight for dose determination in ivermectin delivery. 55.1 individuals of Ipogun community in Ifedore Local Government Area of Ondo State, comprising 269 males (49%) and 282 females (51%), who received ivermectin based on height measurement using calibrated measuring sticks were weighed. The weights were used to calculate the number of ivermectin tablets the individuals would have received if the dose had been based on eight. A person statistical test was carried out to measure the relationship. A correlation coefficient of r=0.89 was obtained for height and weight schedule. A total of 893 tablets were used in the treatment exercise based on the dosage by height whereas 744 tablets would have been needed if weight had been to determine dosage. The implications of these are discussed.
NQJHM Vol. 13 (3-4) 2003: pp. 69-74