Urogenital schistosomiasis knowledge, attitudes and practices among the community members in Lindi, Tanzania: A qualitative study
Main Article Content
Background: Urogenital schistosomiasis caused by Schistosoma haematobium (S. haematobium), remains a public health problem in Lindi region. Despite twelve rounds of praziquantel preventive chemotherapy. There is a scarcity of information on the factors perpetuating the transmission of S. haematobium in Lindi. Therefore, this study aimed to explore the urogenital schistosomiasis knowledge, attitudes, and practices among the community members in Mtama district in the Lindi region of Tanzania.
Methodology: A cross-sectional study employing a qualitative approach was conducted in Mtama, Lindi in May 2021. The respondents were purposively sampled, and a total of 6 Focus Group Discussions (FGDs), 2 in each village were conducted. The FGDs were audio-recorded, transcribed verbatim, and analysed thematically to identify emerging themes.
Results: Majority of respondents were aware of the endemicity of S. haematobium and the ongoing distribution of praziquantel preventive chemotherapy. Respondents had inadequate knowledge of the disease causation and the role of snails in disease transmission. Also, misconception on the modes of disease transmission was observed. Respondents had undesirable attitudes. They were against regular screening of urogenital schistosomiasis and were into the use of traditional ways of treatment to dodge screening and treatment costs. Respondents exhibited inappropriate water, sanitation, and hygienic practices (WaSH), thus perpetuating disease transmission.
Conclusion: Despite the community being aware and knowledgeable of urogenital schistosomiasis, there is inadequate understanding of how the disease is transmitted, the roles of snails in S. haematobium transmission, coupled with undesirable attitudes and inappropriate practices. These potentially compromise the ongoing Government efforts to control the disease in Lindi region. Therefore, there is need to initiate a community-based health education programme targeting behaviour change.