We assessed the influence of health education on the knowledge about onchocerciasis in school children in Okpatu, Nigeria. The children, aged between 11 and 17 y, received health education in both English and Igbo (local language) for three months on the transmission, clinical manifestations, treatment and prevention of onchocerciasis. Illustrated pictorial materials were used to support and enhance their understanding of the subject matter. Their level of knowledge was evaluated nine months later using a pre-tested personal interview administered questionnaire. A significantly higher proportion of these children knew about onchocerciasis (chi2=260.4, df=1, P<0.0001), and its causative agent (chi2=175.0, df=4, P<0. 0001), clinical manifestations (chi2=254.0, df=5, P<0.0001), diagnosis (chi2=123.9, df=2, P<0.0001), treatment (chi2=197.8, df=3, P<0.0001) and prevention (chi2=220.8, df=3, P<0.0001) in the post- than in the pre-educational intervention. It is therefore concluded that school-based health education showed an increase in knowledge about onchocerciasis and school children could provide a useful ‘multiplier’ resource for health education in the community.
Public Health 09/1999; 113(5):215-8. DOI:10.1038/sj.ph.1900564