Perceptions about interventions to control schistosomiasis among the Lake Victoria island communities of Koome, Uganda
Background: Praziquantel-based mass treatment is the main approach to controlling schistosomiasis mansoni in endemic areas. Interventions such as provision and use of safe water, minimising contact with infested water, disposal of stool in latrines and snail control provide key avenues to break the transmission cycle and can sustain the benefits of mass treatment in the long term. Efforts are also being made to develop a schistosomiasis vaccine which, if effective, might reduce the incidence of re-infection after treatment. However, any interventions deployed need to be acceptable to, and sustainable by, the target communities.
Methods: In this qualitative study, we investigated the perceptions of six Lake Victoria island communities of Koome, Uganda, about interventions to control Schistosoma mansoni infection and their willingness to participate in Schistosoma vaccine trials. Thirty-two in-depth interviews, 12 key informant interviews and 10 focus group discussions were conducted. Data were analysed using a thematic content approach.
Findings: Intestinal schistosomiasis was not regarded as a serious health problem because a mass treatment programme is in place. However, the communities lack safe water sources and latrines. Mass treatment with praziquantel, safe water supplies and use of toilets were deemed the most acceptable interventions by the participants. The communities are willing to participate in Schistosoma vaccine trials.
Conclusion/Significance: Knowledge of a community’s perception about interventions to control schistosomiasis can be valuable to policy makers and programme implementers intending to set up interventions co-managed by the community members. In this study, the views of the Lake Victoria island communities of Koome are presented. This study also provides data to guide further work on alternative interventions such as Schistosoma vaccine trials in these communities.