The online version of this article (https://doi.org/10.1186/s12879-017-2923-6) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
Schistosomiasis remains a global health problem with an estimated 250 million people in 78 countries infected, of whom 85% live in Sub-Saharan Africa. Preventive chemotherapy remains the key public health strategy to combat schistosomiasis worldwide. Recently the WHO emphasized on the use of integrative approaches in the control and elimination of schistosomiasis. However, a detailed understanding of sociocultural factors that may influence the uptake of the intended health activities and services is vital. Thus, our study sought to understand the knowledge, attitudes, perceptions, beliefs and practices about schistosomiasis in various communities in Sub-Saharan Africa.
A systematic search of literature for the period 2006–2016 was done on Medline, PubMed, CINAHL, Psych info and Google Scholar using the following key words “Schistosomiasis, S. mansoni, S. haematobium, knowledge, attitudes, perceptions, beliefs and practices in Sub-Saharan Africa” in combination with Bolean operators (OR, AND). In this context, we reviewed studies conducted among school children, community members and caregivers of preschool children. Thematic analysis was utilised for the overall synthesis of the selected studies. This was done after reading the articles in depth. Themes were identified and examined for similarities, differences and contradictions.
Gaps in schistosomiasis related knowledge and sociocultural barriers towards the uptake of preventive and treatment services among communities in Sub-Saharan Africa were identified. In addition to limited knowledge and negative attitudes, risky water related practices among community members, school children and caregivers of preschool children were identified as key factors promoting transmission of the disease.
The study concluded that a comprehensive health education programme using contextual and standardised training tools may improve peoples’ knowledge, attitudes and practices in relation to schistosomiasis prevention and control. Findings also highlight the significance of including caregivers in the planning and implementation schistosomiasis control programs targeting pre-school children.
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