Schistosomiasis: Knowledge, attitudes and practices in Nampula province, Mozambique

RESEARCH BRIEF

Schistosomiasis is a parasitic infection that is acquired when people come into contact with freshwater infested with the parasite. It is a neglected tropical disease (NTD), which mainly affects poor and marginalised people.

To effectively break the transmission cycle, as many people as possible need to adopt good hygiene and sanitation and take part in mass treatment campaigns.The disease is highly endemic in Mozambique. In Nampula province, one of the worst affected, 77% suffer from the infection.

Community perceptions matter…

What people know about the disease and how it can be prevented is a crucial factor in any effort to beat schistosomiasis. To find out more about people’s perceptions, Malaria Consortium conducted a representative household survey in four districts of Nampula province with a total of 791 households interviewed.

  • 91% are aware of schistosomiasis
  • 20% can correctly name a risk behaviour
  • 58% don’t know how the disease is spread
  • 22% incorrectly think it is a sexually transmitted disease

Knowledge of treatment is low…

  • 61% don’t know if there is a drug to treat schistosomiasis
  • Only 5% name mass treatment campaigns as a control mechanism
  • 5% of adults interviewed have taken Praziquantel
  • 87% said they would take Praziquantel if offered

Conclusion

The results from Malaria Consortium’s survey demonstrate the need to educate people about the cause of the disease and how it is transmitted. Too few people know how to protect their families from the disease. Most people appear to be willing to take medication if offered. It is therefore essential to work with at-risk communities to increase the uptake of preventive practices, such as mass treatment campaigns

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