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Year : 2005  |  Volume : 10  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 87-93

Pattern and perception of onchocerciasis among women in oncho-Endemic areas of Imo State of Nigeria

1 School of Health Nursing, Owerri, Nigeria
2 Dept. of Community Medicine, College of Medicine, University of Nigeria, Enugu Campus, Enugu, Nigeria

Correspondence Address:
E A Nwoke
Department of Community Medicine, University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital, Enugu
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

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Aim: To examine pattern and perception of onchocerciasis among women in oncho-endemic areas of Imo state; Nigeria. Methods: Clinical examination; questionnaires and focus group discussion were used. Four hundred and twenty (420) women, from 4 endemic communities in Okigwe LGA in Imo State were examined and questionnaires distributed. Focus group discussion was also held with other groups. Results: Illiterate farmers (76.2%) were significantly (P<0.05) more affected than other occupational groups. Fifty five percent of the women with the disease signs and symptoms were disturbed, 30.90% felt normal, while 9.5% and 4.8% felt withdrawn and inferior respectively. Results from focus group discussion confirmed that some villagers feel bad and afraid; some feel sorry while others feel normal when they see women with disease manifestations. A significant (P<0.05) number of the respondents (54.5%) said that men in the communities do not marry girls with the disease manifestations, especially onchodermatitis. Sixty eight percent said onchordermatitis reduces level of interaction with other people. Responses from focus group discussion said that women with severe onchordermatitis are avoided, and a hindrance to sexual relation. According to discussion group, parents do not allow their sons marry girls with onchordermatitis. The villagers believe that genital elephantiasis or oedema and hanging groin are punishment from the gods on the affected women for their infidelity. Abandonment and or divorce were mentioned discussants. A highly significant (P<0.05) number (66.2%) said onchordermatitis affect their concentration at work thus their productivity. They also had diverifised views about treatment and preventive measures. Conclusion: Most of the patients agreed that Mectizan distribution in the communities has improved the health of the people, especially reduction of severe onchordermatitis

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