Health education and the control of intestinal worm infections in China: a new vision
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Background The transmission of soil-transmitted helminths (STHs) is associated with poverty, poor hygiene behaviour, lack of clean water and inadequate waste disposal and sanitation. Periodic administration of benzimidazole drugs is the mainstay for global STH control but it does not prevent re-infection, and is unlikely to interrupt transmission as a stand-alone intervention. Findings We reported recently on the development and successful testing in Hunan province, PR China, of a health education package to prevent STH infections in Han Chinese primary school students. We have recently commenced a new trial of the package in the ethnically diverse Xishuangbanna autonomous prefecture in Yunnan province and the approach is also being tested in West Africa, with further expansion into the Philippines in 2015. Conclusions The work in China illustrates well the direct impact that health education can have in improving knowledge and awareness, and in changing hygiene behaviour. Further, it can provide insight into the public health outcomes of a multi-component integrated control program, where health education prevents re-infection and periodic drug treatment reduces prevalence and morbidity. Keywords: Ascaris lumbricoides; Trichuris trichiura; Necator americanus; Ancylostoma duodenale; Soil-transmitted helminths (STHs); People's Republic of China; Health education; "Magic Glasses" video
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© 2014 McManus et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.