A Descriptive Study of the Knowledge-Base of Malaria between the Visually-impaired and the Non-Visually impaired in Two Primary Schools in Lagos, Nigeria; implications for health education.
Background: The study was carried out in two primary schools in Lagos State, Nigeria. One hundred students were from Pacelli School for the Blind and one hundred and sixty-four students were from Onitolo Primary School, a main stream school. The study compared the knowledge base of the two groups on malaria prevention and treatment options. Approval for the study was granted by the Ethics Committee of the Lagos University Teaching Hospital, Nigeria and consent was sought from parents/ guardians of the students and from the principals of the two schools.
Method: The instrument of data collection was a close ended questionnaire. The average time it took to fill the questionnaire was twenty minutes. Analysis of categorical variables was done by Chi- Square Analysis.
Results: The respondents from Pacelli School for the Blind were older than the respondents from Onitolo Primary School when matched by class in primary school (P < 0.05). The majority of the respondents were Yorubas, 178 (70.5%). In Pacelli School, the number of males that were visually-impaired was more than the number of females (P < 0.05).
There was a statistically significant difference on their knowledge base on the cause of malaria (P < 0.05). The students from Pacelli School 92 (92%) knew that malaria was caused by mosquitoes and only 75 (45.7%) of the respondents from Onitolo knew that malaria was caused by mosquitoes. The age at which respondents from Pacelli School became visually impaired was not statistically related to the correct knowledge that malaria was caused by mosquito (P < 0.05).
The number of respondents that preferred the parental route for treatment of malaria was fewer in Pacelli School than in Onitolo School (P < 0.05). A greater number of respondents from Pacelli School did not like to take malaria tablets because the malaria tablets were bitter (P < 0.05). The major source of information about malaria from both schools was from their doctors and other health personnel 116 (43.9). When the responses from both groups were combined, the least source of information about malaria in both groups was from teacher/school 27 (10.2%).
Two hundred and twenty-seven (85%) of the respondents would choose a doctor as their health-care provider if they had malaria (P > 0.05). In Pacelli School, 44 (44%) of the respondents had had malaria in the past twelve months. In Onitolo School, 49 (29.9%) of the respondents had had malaria in the past twelve months. There was no statistically significant difference in the number of times both groups had had malaria in the past twelve months.
Conclusion: There were more visually-impaired males in Pacelli School than females. There was a statistically significant difference on their knowledge base on the cause of malaria. More students from Pacelli School had the correct knowledge on the cause of malaria. The major source of information about malaria from both schools was from their doctors and other health personnel. Teacher/School was the least source of information about malaria in Pacelli School and in Onitolo. Health Education on preventable diseases like malaria should be strengthened in both schools. More schools for the visually –impaired should be replicated across the states in Nigeria and more schools for the visually-impaired should be replicated in Lagos State.
Keywords: Malaria; Health Education; Visually-impaired; knowledge base; Pacelli School; Onitolo School; The Blind; Treatment; Prevention.
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