A pilot study on the usefulness of information and education campaign materials in enhancing the knowledge, attitude and practice on rabies in rural Sri Lanka

Gino C Matibag, Yoshihide Ohbayashi, Koji Kanda, Hiroko Yamashina, W R Bandula Kumara, I N Gamini Perera, D D Niranjala De Silva, G S Panduka De S Gunawardena, Ananda Jayasinghe, Rossana A Ditangco, Hiko Tamashiro
Journal of Infection in Developing Countries 2009 February 28, 3 (1): 55-64

BACKGROUND: Rabies remains endemic in Sri Lanka despite a strong government patronized anti-rabies campaign. Personal, cultural or religious beliefs have been thought to influence health practices that could render rabies prevalent in the country.

METHODOLOGY: The knowledge, attitudes, and beliefs of 580 household heads/members from Nuwara Eliya District, Sri Lanka, regarding rabies were explored through a structured questionnaire. An improvement/deterioration in their knowledge and practices after the use of information and education campaign (IEC) materials was assessed through a repeat exploration at an interval of four weeks.

RESULTS: Respondents showed inclination toward animal birth control (60%) rather than elimination methods (24%). There was disparity between pet owners enthusiasm to take pets for rabies inoculation (57%) and their ability to show dog vaccination cards (40%). Almost twice more pet owners than non-pet owners believed that it is their responsibility to control the population of roaming pet dogs (aOR=1.78; 95% CI: 1.14 to 2.76). The rabies leaflets were very effective in informing the people on how to deal with rabid animals, the earliest schedule for anti-rabies vaccine (ARV), and repeat vaccination.

CONCLUSIONS: Awareness and proper attitude toward rabies management and canine population control are adequate among the rural Sinhalese and Buddhist populations of Sri Lanka; however, their current health practices should be improved. The rabies KAP could be further enhanced through the use of IEC materials.

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