Schistosomiasis screening and health education for children: action research in Nile delta villages
In Egypt an important component of the national schistosomiasis control policy is the regular screening of school children through the rural health units. In the Nile delta, a major challenge for the programme is the increasing predominance of Schistosoma mansoni, as compared to Schistosoma haematobium over the past 20 years, and the need to adjust strategies to this new reality. The action research project, growing out of an in-depth study of schistosomiasis in two Nile delta villages, is intended to provide recommendations for schistosomiasis control to the Egyptian Ministry of Health and Population. This paper explores the practice of school-based screening. We then describe the designing and testing of a revised screening procedure, which focuses on the collection of stool specimens to diagnose S. mansoni and which is comprehensive and gender-sensitive. Opportunities for health education are discussed briefly, as this is necessary for an effective screening procedure and to prevent reinfection. In conclusion, we mention the need to incorporate screening and health education into an integrated control strategy.
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