RATIONALE: Soil-transmitted helminthiasis (STH) remains a major public health problem in developing countries worldwide and school-age children are the most vulnerable age group. There is a need to develop and test models for school-based control of STH.
OBJECTIVES: The study aimed to determine baseline STH prevalence and proportion of heavy intensity infections in five selected public elementary schools in Binan, Laguna and to describe the prevalence of STH and proportion of heavy intensity infections following periodic mass treatments.
METHODS: This study was a cross sectional time series study. Five public elementary schools were selected for baseline and follow-up jtorasitologic assessments. At least fifty grade III students from middle sections from each of the five selected schools were targeted for baseline parasitologic assessment to reach at least 250 children in the school district. On the following year, the group of students belonging to middle sections of the next higher grade was followed up every six months for the first two years and once on the third year. Twenty-four public elementary schools were targeted for mass treatment with albendazole 400 mg per tablet given twice a year for two years and once on the third year in the whole school district of Binan, Laguna.and health education. The overall cumulative prevalence and prevalence of STH in each school were compared against baseline value using the Z-test for single proportion. Percent reduction from the baseline for each school and follow-up period were also computed.
RESULTS: At least 50 third grade students from each of five selected public elementary schools were included for baseline and follow-up parasitologic assessments. Baseline assessment revealed an overall STH cumulative prevalence of 84.2%. After the first and second rounds of treatment, significant reductions of cumulative prevalence and overall prevalence of Ascaris and Trichuris infections were noted. However, there were no further significant reductions of prevalence after two rounds of mass treatment. An increase in the prevalence of Trichuris infections and the proportion of heavy intensity infections was noted on the last follow-up.
CONCLUSION: There is a need to sustain twice yearly treatment and intensification of other control strategies including improvements in personal and environmental hygiene and school-based control of STH is a simple and feasible strategy.