Objectives: To find out the prevalence of intestinal parasites and its epidemiological correlates among rural Indian school going (6-14 years) children and to study the effect of focused, need based child to child hygiene education on personal hygiene of school children. Materials and Methods: In September 2007, the present participatory action research was undertaken at a feasibly selected village Dhotra (Kasar) in Wardha district of central India. A triangulated research design of quantitative (survey) and qualitative (transect walk & pile sorting) methods was used for the needs assessment before initiating formal hygiene education. Out of enlisted 172 children, data of 118 children with complete information was used for final analysis. The quantitative and qualitative data was entered and analyzed using the Epi Info 6.04 software and Anthropac 4.98.1/X software package respectively. School based participatory life skills based child to child hygiene education was undertaken for message dissemination and behavior change. The effect of this hygiene education on identified key behaviors was assessed after one month Results: Out of the 118 (50 male and 68 female) subjects examined 21 (17.8%, 95%CI, 11.4 – 25.9%) had intestinal parasite infection. The prevalence of intestinal parasitic infection was significantly high among children having dirty untrimmed nails (47.4%, 95%CI, 30.9 – 64.1%) followed by those having poor hand washing practices (37.2%, 95%CI, 22.9 – 53.2%). One month after hygiene education, the proportion of children having practice of hand washing with soap after defecation significantly improved from 63.6 % to 78%. The proportion of clean and cut nails also improved from 67.8% to 80 % (p<0.05). Conclusions: The need based, focused, life skills based child to child hygiene education was effective for behavior change. An integrated approach of drug treatment and focused participatory hygiene education is required to control parasite load among rural Indian school going children
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