Control of urinary schistosomiasis: an investigation into the effective use of questionnaires to identify high-risk communities and individuals in Niger State, Nigeria
Schistosomiasis is a public health problem in Nigeria. Although there is a national programme for its control, there is the need for reliable and simple means of rapidly diagnosing communities to provide a detailed map on the distribution of the disease in the country, in order to prioritize control activities, as well as to monitor the effectiveness of control operations. A rapid assessment technique using school questionnaires was tested in Borgu Local Government Area (LGA), Niger State, north-western Nigeria. Following a series of focus group discussions, the questionnaires were adapted before they were administered through the school system to 60 primary schools in Borgu LGA. Correctly completed questionnaires were returned from 58 schools (97%) within 4 weeks. Questionnaires were validated by reagent stick tests performed by trained teachers. Their results proved to be reliable compared to those obtained by our research team in 20 randomly selected schools. Overall prevalences of microhaematuria at 1+ and 2+ levels were 45.7% and 27.1%, respectively. Highly significant correlations were obtained between school prevalence of microhaematuria and reported schistosomiasis, as well as reported blood in urine. The diagnostic performance of the questionnaires at the 2+ level of microhaematuria was very good. The design of our study also allowed data analysis on an individual level, and multivariate analysis revealed highly significant odds ratios for reported schistosomiasis and reported blood in urine to detect an individual with urinary schistosomiasis. Our results are in good agreement with reports from other African countries, and questionnaires can be recommended for rapid identification of communities at highest risk of urinary schistosomiasis in Nigeria, so that scarce resources of the national control programme can be used most effectively.