Effect of a health education program on reduction of pediculosis in school girls at Amphoe Muang, Khon Kaen Province, Thailand

Publication Type:Journal Article
Year of Publication:2018
Authors:M. Yingklang, Sengthong, C., Haonon, O., Dangtakot, R., Pinlaor, P., Sota, C., Pinlaor, S.
Secondary Authors:D. Joseph Diemert
Journal:PLOS ONE
Date Published:06-2018
Keywords:head lice, pediculosis, Thailand

Background: Pediculosis caused by head lice (Pediculus humanus capitis) infestation is still an important health problem in schoolchildren, especially girls, worldwide, including in Thailand. Although pediculicidal agents effectively kill head lice, the re-infestation rate is still high. Thus, prevention is an important strategy for any sustainable control program. We aimed to develop and evaluate the efficacy of a health education program for increasing knowledge, changing attitudes and promoting preventive practices to reduce prevalence of pediculosis among school girls in Amphoe Muang, Khon Kaen, northeastern Thailand.

Methodology: Six schools were selected using multistage simple randomization and were allocated into intervention or control groups. A total of 267 girls was enrolled from these schools. A “knowledge, attitude and practice” (KAP) questionnaire, consent forms and health education materials were constructed and tested by experts and in one pilot school before the main investigation. Baseline prevalence of adult lice and nits was determined. The health education package was given only to the intervention group. The KAP questionnaire was re-evaluated at two months after intervention.

Results: At baseline, the prevalence and intensity of head lice infestation, and the KAP scores did not differ significantly between the two groups. After re-evaluation at two months, the KAP score was significantly greater in the intervention group. A significant decrease of the infestation rate from 59% to 44% was observed in the intervention group, whereas infestation increased in the control group (from 56% to 65%). The incidence of new cases in the intervention group (6.14%) was lower than in the control group (12.62%).

Conclusion: These findings indicated that the newly-established health education package is an effective tool for increasing KAP and reducing head lice infestation in school girls. Efforts to combat pediculosis in schoolchildren elsewhere may consider including this, or a similar, health education package in their programs.

Short Title:PLoS ONE
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