Bakari, H. B., *Aliu, R., Manga, M. M., Wasinda, S. B., and Usman, A. S.
Federal Teaching Hospital, Gombe, Nigeria
*Correspondence to: firstname.lastname@example.org; +2348066536823
Background: Intestinal helminthic infections are among the commonest infections worldwide. It often affects the poorest communities and has similar geographic distribution with malnutrition. Intestinal helminthic infection contributes to undernutrition through subtle reduction in digestion and absorption of food, chronic inflammation and loss of nutrients. The objective of this study is to determine the prevalence of intestinal helminthic infection and its relationship with nutritional status of primary school children in Gombe, Gombe State, Nigeria.
Methodology: This was a cross sectional study of 350 pupils selected through multistage random sampling technique from 24 primary schools in Gombe, Gombe State, Nigeria from July 2018 to January 2019. Demographic information including age, gender, height, and weight were collected from each participant with a designed collection form. The data were analysed using SPSS version 24.0, and presented as frequency distribution and mean ± SD. The Chisquare test (with Odds ratio and 95% confidence interval) was used to test for association between prevalence of helminthiasis and factors such as gender, age group and school type. A p value of less than 0.05 was considered statistically significant at 95% confidence interval.
Results: The prevalence of intestinal helminthic infection was 23.7% (83/350). Eighty (96.4%) of the 83 infected pupils were in public schools while only 3 (3.6%) were in private schools (p<0.001). The prevalence of helminthiasis was significantly higher in underweight pupils (34%, OR=2.113, p=0.0065)) and significantly lower (5.4%, OR=0.1637, p=0.0037) in overweight pupils while the prevalence was not significantly associated with normal weight (p=0.5482) or obesity (p=1.000).
Conclusions: Intestinal helminthic infection is a public health problem in children with adverse significant relationship with nutritional status. Provision of toilet facilities in schools and periodic de-worming of pupils aimed at reducing loss of nutrients from intestinal helminthiasis are recommended.
Keywords: Intestinal helminths, school, pupils, nutritional status.
Received Sept 9, 2022; Revised Oct 25, 2022; Accepted Nov 1, 2022
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Association of intestinal helminthic infection and nutritional status of primary school children in Gombe State, Nigeria