Association between Schistosoma mansoni infection and access to improved water and sanitation facilities in Mwea, Kirinyaga County, Kenya

17 Jun 2019
Gichuki PM, Kepha S, Mulewa D, Masaku J, Kwoba C, Mbugua G, Mazigo HD, Mwandawiro C,

BACKGROUND: Schistosomiasis remains a public health problem in Central Kenya despite concerted control efforts. Access to improved water and sanitation has been emphasized as important control measures. Few studies have assessed the association between access to improved water sources and sanitation facilities with Schistosoma mansoni infection in different environmental settings. This study assessed the association between S. mansoni infection and household access to improved water sources and sanitation facilities in Mwea, Kirinyaga County, Kenya.

METHODS: A cross sectional study was conducted between the months of August and October 2017. A total of 905 household heads from seven villages were interviewed and their stool samples screened for S. mansoni using the Kato Katz technique. Comparisons of demographic factors by S. mansoni infection were tested for significance using the chi-square test (χ2) or the Fisher exact test for categorical variables. Variables associated with S. mansoni infection were analyzed using univariable analysis and the strength of the association measured as odds ratio (OR) using mixed effects logistic regression at 95% CI, with values considered significant at p < 0.05.

RESULTS: The overall prevalence of S. mansoni was, 23.1% (95% CI: 20.5-26.0%), with majority of the infections being of light intensity. Rurumi village had the highest prevalence at 33.3%, with Kirogo village having the least prevalence at 7.0%. Majority (84.1%) of the households lacked access to improved water sources but had access to improved sanitation facilities (75%). Households with access to piped water had the lowest S. mansoni infections. However, there was no significant association between S. mansoni infections with either the main source of water in the household (Odds Ratio (OR) =0.782 (95% CI: 0.497-1.229) p = 0.285 or sanitation facilities (OR = 1.018 (95% CI: 0.705-1.469) p = 0.926.

CONCLUSION: Our study suggests that S. mansoni is still a public health problem among all age groups in Mwea irrigation scheme, Kirinyaga County, Central Kenya. Majority of the households lacks access to improved water sources but have access to improved sanitation facilities. This study recommends initiatives to ensure adequate provision of improved water sources, and the inclusion of the adult community in preventive chemotherapy programs.