Impact of socio-demographic and economic factors on the prevalence of intestinal parasites among the female gender in Makurdi, Benue State-Nigeria
E Amuta, R Houmsou, S Mker
benue state, intestinal parasites, makurdi, nigeria, women
E Amuta, R Houmsou, S Mker. Impact of socio-demographic and economic factors on the prevalence of intestinal parasites among the female gender in Makurdi, Benue State-Nigeria. The Internet Journal of Third World Medicine. 2008 Volume 8 Number 2.
Intestinal parasites are regarded as important public health problems in tropical Africa and cause malnutrition, diarrhea and anaemia in humans
Intestinal parasites are regarded as important public health problems in tropical Africa and cause malnutrition, diarrhea and anaemia in humans. They are among the most prevalent human infections affecting approximately one fourth of the world’s population1. In the developing world, young women, pregnant women, their infants and children frequently experience a cycle where repeated infection lead to adverse consequences that can continue from one generation to next2. However, the role of women in any society can not be overemphasized.
In Nigeria, women make up more than one third of the work force, comprising 70% of agricultural workers, 80% of food producers, 95% of those who process basic food stuff and 60-90% of those marketing3. It is in the course of performing these duties, including domestic house obligations that contact with infective stages of most parasites occur. Early reporting of infections is also hampered by illiteracy, ignorance, weak economic power and poor health facilities4. Thus, this study centers on intestinal parasitic infections and their effects on the fe¬male gender. The main objective was to determine the prevalence of intestinal parasites among women at different reproductive stages and the impact of related factors such as socio-demographic and economic factors that can influence the prevalence of these parasites.
Materials and Methods
The study was carried out in Makurdi, capital of Benue State-Nigeria. Makurdi is located at the North Eastern part of Benue State and lies on latitude 7º30’N and longitude 8º35’E. It shares boundaries with Gwer West and Guma Local Government Areas including Nassarawa State.
The town is divided by the River Benue into the North and South banks, which are connected by two bridges: the railway bridge and the dual carriage bridge. The southern part of the town is made up of several wards including Central Ward, Old GRA, Ankpa Ward, Wadata Ward, High Level, Wurukum and new GRA.
Makurdi lies in the tropical guinea savanna zone of Central Nigeria, experiences a typical climate with two distinct seasons. The dry season lasts from late October to March and the rainy season which begins in April to October is the period of intensive agricultural activities by the inhabitants mostly Tivs, Idomas, Jukuns and Igedes. The area has an annual rainfall of 1000 mm and temperature fluctuates between a minimum of 27º,38 C to 28º,00 C and a maximum of 30º,10 C to 34º,09 C (Meteolorgical Department,Nigerian Airforce Base Makurdi, Unpub. Data).
Study Population and Parasitological examinations
This study focused on women at different reproductive stages (pre-menstruals, menstrual and post-menstruals). A total of 750 females aged 5-70 years were randomly selected, individual consent of each adult woman that participated in the study was sought. For school children permission was obtained from the school authorities and parents of the respective students were dully informed on the significance of the study before the start of the research. Each participant was given a sterile and labeled bottle for stool collection and questionnaires were also administered to obtain information on socio-demographic and socio-economic data.
Stool specimens were examined for parasites eggs, cysts and larvae using formol ether concentration technique as described5.
Data were analyzed by SPSS for Windows 15.0 version. Chi-squared test was performed to assess the significant association between the prevalence of intestinal parasites and socio-demographic and socio-economic factors.
Five parasites species were found among women in the study area, Figure 1 illustrates the prevalence of individual parasites among women groups. The pre-menstrual group recorded the highest infection rate with
The prevalence of intestinal parasites in relation to educational status is given in Table 1. Women with no level of education recorded the peak of infection with 75%, followed by those that have primary and secondary level of education recording prevalence rates of 73.13% and 66.66% respectively. The least infection of 23.91% was found among those that attended a tertiary institution. Women at post-menstrual and pre-menstrual stages recorded the highest infection rate with 63.86% and 72.80%) respectively. No significant difference was observed between the prevalence rate and the educational status of women (X2 = 85.93, P > 0.05).
Table 2 illustrates the prevalence of intestinal parasites in relation to occupation of women. Students recorded a higher rate of infection with 68.60%) followed by trader 65.50%, housewives 64.50%, farmers 60.00%. The least infection rate was found among civil servants 20.50%. There was not significant difference in the prevalence of infection and occupation of women (X2 = 130.63, P > 0.05).
The prevalence of intestinal parasites among women in relation to location is shown in Table 3. Girls and women who reside at North-Bank had the highest infection rate with 69.50%, followed by women residing at Wadata 57.60%) and Modern Market 56.00%. The least infection rate was encountered among women residing at Wurukum 52.70%. No significant difference was observed in the prevalence of intestinal parasites in women in relation to location (X2 = 32.3, P > 0.05).
The present study reveals a relatively high infection rate of intestinal parasitosis among women in Makurdi, Benue State-Nigeria. However, these findings are closely related to 51.60 %, 52.62% and 57.70% of urban areas found in Benin Republic, Senegal and Chad respectively 6, 7, 8 The protozoans
With regards to the level of education, the post-menstrual women with no level of education (Nil) had the highest number of infection (75%). This could be due the low level of hygiene consciousness due to illiteracy. The low rate of infection observed among women that have attended a tertiary institution might be due to the fact they are more often enlightened and economically stable.
The relationship between occupation and prevalence of infection showed that students were more infected. This high rate of infection in this category might be attributable to the constant contact of these students with contaminated soil, water or food. However, this study corroborates the affirmation that school children are found to be spending more of their leisure time out doors, playing or foraging in garbage dumps and eating discarded foods remains on the street, and are more often in contact with soil and eat indiscriminately with unwashed hands10.
In relation to location, females living at North-Bank and Wadata are more infected. These are high densities areas populated by mainly fishermen, farmers, traders, crafty men and women who live with unsanitary conditions such as lack of sanitation facilities especially latrines and lack of potable drinking water; the presence of stagnant water in gutters and dump hills that are common sights could be the sources of contamination in these areas. This, however, agrees with a study carried in Makurdi 11.
Conclusion and Recommendations
Considering this devastating effects of these parasites on humans, it is stated that transmission of these parasites are facilitated by eating raw or undercooked food, unwashed fruits or vegetables12. The situation is made worst by the increasing world population and the environmental pollution, the inability to keep pace with provision of adequate drinking water and sanitation of the immediate environment. In order to find a way out of this public health nuisance, there is a need to educate the general populace on the urgency to stop these unhealthy behaviours. The government needs to enforce many of the docile environmental laws in order to make people live in healthy environments and observe hygiene rules which are necessary for good health and longevity.
The authors sincerely acknowledge all women that participated in this study. Thanks are also due to the heads, teachers and children of the female gender in the respective schools where samplings were undertaken.