A cluster-randomised controlled trial comparing school and community-based deworming for soil transmitted helminth control in school-age children: the CoDe-STH trial protocol

18 Sep 2019
Naomi E. Clarke, Dinh Ng-Nguyen, Rebecca J. Traub, Archie C. A. Clements, Kate Halton, Roy M. Anderson, Darren J. Gray, Luc E. Coffeng, John M. Kaldor & Susana Vaz Nery


Current guidelines and targets for soil-transmitted helminth (STH) control focus on school-based deworming for school-age children, given the high risk of associated morbidity in this age group. However, expanding deworming to all age groups may achieve improved STH control among both the community in general and school-age children, by reducing their risk of reinfection. This trial aims to compare school-based targeted deworming with community-wide mass deworming in terms of impact on STH infections among school-age children.


The CoDe-STH (Community Deworming against STH) trial is a cluster-randomised controlled trial (RCT) in 64 primary schools in Dak Lak province, Vietnam. The control arm will receive one round of school-based targeted deworming with albendazole, while in the intervention arm, community-wide mass deworming with albendazole will be implemented alongside school-based deworming. Prevalence of STH infections will be measured in school-age children at baseline and 12 months following deworming. The primary outcome is hookworm prevalence in school-age children at 12 months, by quantitative PCR. Analysis will be intention-to-treat, with outcomes compared between study arms using generalised linear and non-linear mixed models. Additionally, cost-effectiveness of mass and targeted deworming will be calculated and compared, and focus group discussions and interviews will be used to assess acceptability and feasibility of deworming approaches. Individual based stochastic models will be used to predict the impact of mass and targeted deworming strategies beyond the RCT timeframe to assess the likelihood of parasite population ‘bounce-back’ if deworming is ceased due to low STH prevalence.


The first large-scale trial comparing mass and targeted deworming for STH control in South East Asia will provide key information for policy makers regarding the optimal design of STH control programs.