MULTICENTER STUDY
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Sanitary provision and helminthiasis among school children in Benin City, Nigeria.

OBJECTIVE: To assess the effect of sanitary provision and hygiene practices on intestinal helminth burden of primary school children.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: The cross sectional descriptive study was undertaken in Egor Area of Benin City, Edo State, Nigeria. Using a calculated sample size of 384, participants were selected from primary schools in the study area, using a multi stage sampling method. Although, 384 pupils were expected to participate in the study only 365 provided faecal samples for examination giving a response rate of 95%.

RESULTS: In most of the schools surveyed, open refuse dumping, (score 1) was the prevalent practice. Portable water supply was present only in private schools within the compound, (score 4). Toilet facilities were grossly inadequate in number and without consideration for sex. Pit latrine, (score 2) was the common toilet provided in surveyed schools. Seventy seven, (21.1%) of the pupils were infected with one or more helminth ova. Pupils in public schools were more infected 72 (30.8%) than those in private schools 5 (3.8%). Helminth ova seen in examined faecal samples were A lumbricoides 61, (16.7%); followed by hookworm, 27 (7.4%); T. trichuria, 5(1.4%); S. stercoralis, 1(0.4%). Regular hand washing with soap reduced the prevalence of helminthiasis.

CONCLUSION: The level of sanitation observed in the schools studied was low. Consequently, more toilets, preferably the VIP type should be built to overcome the hazard of the pit latrine. Provision of portable water supply should be mandatory for all schools to ensure healthy learning environment.

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