Worm-free children: an integrated approach to reduction of soil-transmitted helminth infections in Central Java
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Among children, infections with soil-transmitted helminths (STH) can cause anemia, impaired growth, and absence from school. Sustainable control of STH infection requires that appropriate latrines be integrated with health-promotion education. We report a pilot study of the effects of a combined latrine-education intervention in Central Java, Indonesia. The participants were 99 children (3–13 years old) in two villages (intervention and control) south of Semarang city. Stool samples were collected from the children and were examined for the presence of helminth eggs. After baseline data were collected, latrines were constructed and health education was given in the intervention village. Then, in both villages, all children who had STH infection at baseline were given 400 mg of albendazole. Eight months later, follow-up stool samples were collected and examined. In both villages, 20% of the children had STH infection at baseline. At follow-up, the incidence of STH infection was much lower in the intervention village than in the control village (4.0% vs. 20.4%; p<0.02). The results of this small pilot study give some confidence that a scaled-up study involving many more children and cluster-randomization of the intervention will be feasible and could provide more conclusive evidence of the intervention’s effectiveness.
Reviews on Environmental Health