AUTHOR: ORJI, NKEIRUKA MARY-KATE (MSc)
DEPARTMENT: DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC HEALTH
AFFILIATION : FEDERAL UNIVERSITY OF TECNOLOGY OWERRI, NIGERIA
The study was conducted to investigate the impact of intestinal parasitic infection on nutritional status among school children aged 3-17years at Mmiata Anam in Anambra West-Local Government Area, Anambra State Nigeria. Stool samples of 580 children were collected and analyzed using normal saline and formal-ether concentration methods. Results showed that 339 (50.5%) tested positive for one or more parasites. The prevalence was higher in females with 181 (53.6%) than in males 158 (46.4%).The age group 7-10years had the highest prevalence(%). Intestinal parasitic infection was not significantly related to age and sex of the children (P>0.05). A significantly lower anthropometric figure was observed among the children. It was observed that of all the 339 persons who were infected, 274 (69.0%) persons had body mass index (BMI) less than the W.H.O. Standard indicating malnourishment while only 65 (35.5%) persons had BMI above W.H.O. Standard indicating they were well nourished. The wide and unrestricted spread of the infection was attributed to failure to wear foot wears to school, lack of functional toilet facilities, geophagia and preference of the pupils to defecate in the bush and around the school compounds. This has shown an index of the prevailing unhygienic environment, poor personal hygiene and poverty. In conclusion, provision of potable pipe borne water and good toilet facilities as well as health education programme can help improve the situation. Urgent need for deworming in all the public primary schools investigated is advocated.
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