Outcomes of a school-based intervention on rabies prevention among school children in rural Sri Lanka

Koji Kanda, Yoshi Obayashi, Ananda Jayasinghe, G S P de S Gunawardena, N Y Delpitiya, N G W Priyadarshani, Chandika D Gamage, Asuna Arai, Hiko Tamashiro
International Health 2015, 7 (5): 348-53

BACKGROUND: In Sri Lanka, one of the major challenges in rabies control is to manage the dog population and subsequently to protect people, especially young children, from dog bites.

METHODS: In 2009, an educational-entertainment campaign called 'Rabies Edutainment 4 Kids' was introduced in the school curricula in rural Sri Lanka to improve practices on rabies prevention and pet care among school children, and to evaluate its effectiveness through pre- and post-tests.

RESULTS: The level of rabies knowledge, attitude and practice among the pupils was dependent on their responses to a survey, and scores were significantly improved both among the study and control groups after the intervention. A lecture accompanied by a rabies awareness leaflet was much more effective in improving knowledge than the leaflet alone. The type of intervention and language used was significantly associated with the score increment (p<0.001).

CONCLUSIONS: The threat of rabies to pupils in Sri Lanka would be reduced if they are given appropriate information on rabies prevention as a part of the school curricula. Close collaboration with local education offices is key to successful implementation of school-based rabies control programmes, which is, in turn, crucial to the eradication of rabies from Sri Lanka.

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