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The 2012 London declaration which committed to “sustaining, expanding and extending drug access programmes to ensure the necessary supply of drugs and other interventions to help control soil-transmitted helminths (STH) by 2020” has seen many countries in Africa roll out mass drug administration (MDA) especially among school age children. In Kenya, however, during the National school-based deworming exercise, pre-school aged children (PSAC) have to access treatment at primary schools as the pre-school teachers are not trained to carry out deworming. With studies being conducted on the effectiveness of MDAs, the experiences of key education stakeholders which could improve the programme by giving best practices, and challenges experienced have not been documented.
This was a cross-sectional qualitative study using Focus group discussions (FGDs) and Key informant interviews (KIIs). It was conducted in 4 sub-counties with high STH prevalence at the Kenyan coast (Matuga, Malindi, Lunga Lunga and Msambweni) to understand best practices for implementing MDA among PSAC.FGDs categorized by gender were conducted among local community members, whereas KIIs involved pre-school teachers, primary school teachers, community health extension workers (CHEWs) and opinion leaders. Participants were purposefully selected with the saturation model determining the number of interviews and focus groups. Voice data collected was transcribed verbatim then coded and analyzed using ATLAS.Ti version 6.
Majority of the primary school teachers and CHEWs reported that they were satisfied with the method of mobilization used and the training tools. This was however not echoed by the pre-school teachers, parents and chiefs who complained of being left out of the process. Best practices mentioned included timely drug delivery, support from pre-school teachers, and management of side effects. Overcrowding during the drug administration day, complexity of the forms (for instance the ‘S form’) and long distance between schools were mentioned as challenges.
There is need to utilize better sensitization methods to include the local administration as well as the parents for better uptake of the drugs. Extending deworming training to pre-school teachers will enhance the national deworming programme.