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Prevalence and factors associated with trachoma among children aged 1–9 years in Zala district , Gamo Gofa zone, Southern Ethiopia

Authors Mengistu K, Shegaze M, Woldemichael K, Gesesew H, Markos Y

Received 2 March 2016

Accepted for publication 7 May 2016

Published 29 August 2016 Volume 2016:10 Pages 1663—1670


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 3

Editor who approved publication: Dr Scott Fraser

Kassahun Mengistu1 Mulugeta Shegaze2 Kifle Woldemichael3 Hailay Gesesew3,4 Yohannes Markos5

1Department of Zonal Health Office, Gamo Goffa Zone, Arba Minch, Ethiopia; 2Department of Nursing, Arba Minch University, Arba Minch, Ethiopia; 3Department of Epidemiology, Jimma University, Jimma, Ethiopia; 4Discipline of Public Health, Flinders University, Adelaide, Australia; 5Department of Medical Physiology, Jimma University, Jimma, Ethiopia

Background: Trachoma is the leading cause of preventable blindness worldwide. It is common in areas where people are socioeconomically deprived. Globally, approximately 1.2 billion people live in trachoma-endemic areas, in which, 40.6 million individuals have active trachoma and 8.2 million have trichiasis. According to the World Health Organization’s 2007 report, globally close to 1.3 million people are blind due to trachoma, while approximately 84 million suffer from active trachoma. The National Survey (2007) of Ethiopia showed a prevalence of 40.1% active trachoma among children aged 1–9 years. Trachoma is still endemic in most parts of Ethiopia.
Objective: To assess prevalence of trachoma and factors associated with it among children aged 1–9 years in Zala district, Gamo Gofa Zone, Southern Nations, Nationalities, and Peoples’ Region.
Methods: A community-based cross-sectional study was conducted in Zala district from February 28 to March 26, 2014. A total of 611 children were examined for trachoma based on the simplified World Health Organization 1983 classification. A multistage stratified sampling technique with a systematic random sampling technique was used to select study participants. Data were collected by using a semistructured pretested questionnaire and clinical eye examination. The data were entered using EpiData version 3.1 and analyzed using SPSS version 16. Multivariable logistic regression analysis was used to identify independently associated factors.
Results: The overall prevalence of active trachoma cases was 224 (36.7%) consisting of 207 (92.4%) trachomatous follicles, eight (3.6%) trachomatous intense, and nine (4.0%) combination of trachomatous follicle and trachomatous intense. Inadequate knowledge of family head about trachoma (adjusted odds ratio [AOR] =2.8 [95% CI: 1.9, 4.2]); ≤10 m latrine distance (AOR =1.6 [95% confidence interval {CI}: 1.09, 2.4]); presence of above two preschool children (AOR =2.2 [95% CI: 1.3, 3.7]), flies on the face (AOR =6.3 [95% CI: 2.7, 14.7]), and unclean face (AOR =2.4 [95% CI: 1.5, 3.9]) were found to be independently associated with trachoma.
Conclusion: Trachoma among children in Zala district is a disease of public health importance. Factors like inadequate knowledge about trachoma by the head of the family, ≤10 m latrine distance, presence of above two preschool children, flies on the face, and an unclean face were independently associated with trachoma among children. So strengthening of antibiotic use, face washing, and environmental improvement strategy implementation is mandatory.

Keywords: trachoma, children, prevalence, associated factors, Ethiopia

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