Parasitology

SECTION 3 PROGRAMMATIC OPTIMISATION OF DRUG DELIVERY

Process evaluation of schistosomiasis control in Uganda, 2003 to 2006: perceptions, attitudes and constraints of a national programme

F. M. FLEMINGa1 c1, A. FENWICKa1, E. M. TUKAHEBWAa2, R. G. N. LUBANGAa3, H. NAMWANGYEa2, S. ZARAMBAa4 and N. B. KABATEREINEa2

a1 Schistosomiasis Control Initiative, Department of Infectious Disease Epidemiology, Imperial College London, St. Mary's Campus, Norfolk Place, London, W2 1PG, UK

a2 Vector Control Division, Ministry of Health, P.O. Box 1661, Kampala, Uganda

a3 Department of Social Work and Social Administration, Makerere University, P.O. Box 7062, Kampala, Uganda

a4 Ministry of Health, Headquarters, P.O. Box 7272, Kampala, Uganda

SUMMARY

Schistosomiasis is widespread in Uganda along large lakes and rivers with approximately 4 million people infected. Hookworm infections also prevalent throughout the country, while infections with Ascaris lumbricoides and Trichuris trichiura are mainly found in south-western Uganda. A national programme aimed at controlling morbidity due to these infections was launched in 2003. This article describes the perceptions, attitudes, constraints and experiences of those implementing the programme and those receiving the treatment. The study used qualitative data collected largely in two districts but also from 18 other districts implementing the programme. Results showed that mass treatment was perceived to be beneficial because the drugs make people feel better. However, side-effects of praziquantel (PZQ), the smell and size of the tablets and the use of height, not weight, to determine dose were raised as major factors discouraging people from taking the drug. Generally, most of the end-users were appreciative of the programme and were beginning to demand regular treatment. Nevertheless, intensive and sustained health education is still vital for improvement of treatment coverage, especially among the non-compliers. It was repeatedly highlighted that there is a need to stock PZQ in all health facilities in endemic areas. Provision of incentives to drug distributors and to involve as many stakeholders as possible in the planning phase were also raised by respondents. Lessons learned for the development and success of a helminth control programme at a national scale are discussed.

(Received March 10 2009)

(Revised May 22 2009)

(Accepted June 16 2009)

(Online publication August 21 2009)

Correspondence:

c1 Corresponding author: Schistosomiasis Control Initiative, Department of Infectious Disease Epidemiology, Imperial College London, St. Mary's Campus, Norfolk Place, London, W2 1PG, UK. Tel: +44 (0)20 7594 3626; Fax: +44 (0)20 7262 8140. E-mail: f.fleming@imperial.ac.uk

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