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Soc Sci Med. 2000 May;50(10):1451-6.

Community-perceived benefits of ivermectin treatment in northeastern Nigeria.

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  • 1Parasite and Tropical Health Research, Federal University of Technology, Yola, Nigeria.


A 3-step approach involving focus group discussion, structured interviews and informal conversations with key individuals was used to investigate community usage and perceived benefits of ivermectin in nine Nigerian villages participating in a WHO-sponsored investigation of community-directed treatment with ivermectin (CDTI). Only 27% of 284 persons interviewed had received treatment. An under-estimation of the district's ivermectin needs led to inadequate supply of ivermectin to the communities, which was cited as the main reason (65%) for non-treatment. All those treated (N=76) were further interviewed using questionnaires. Worm expulsion (80%) and blindness prevention (68%) were the most frequently stated benefits. Other perceived benefits were an increase in vitality (68%), sexual drive and performance (29%). The sudden relief from a heavy burden of worms, which had built up over a long period, may have indirect effect on all aspects of an individual's health and account for the diverse experiences. The feeling of vitality, good appetite and general health following ivermectin treatment is an animating experience to many communities. Health planners face the challenge of preparing communities for fewer 'sensational' experiences and preventing a possible feeling of disappointment that may result from frequent usage.

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