Objective: To compare the prevalence of chronic supperative otitis media (CSOM) among two populations of school children.
Design: A survey-demographic data collection and otoscopy was carried out among the two populations of school children.
Setting: A rural government primary school and an urban private primary school
Subjects: Six hundred and ninety nine school pupils in the rural school and two hundred and seventy pupils in the urban school.
Results: Six per cent of the pupils in the rural schools had CSOM as evidenced by persistent perforation of tympanic membrane of more than three months duration. No tympanic membrane perforations were observed in the children in the urban school at the time of this study. The difference in the prevalence of CSOM between the two populations is statistically significant (P < 0.001). The difference in socio-economic status between the two populations is statistically significant in relation to the prevalence of CSOM in the two populations. The poorer rural population had a significantly higher prevalence of CSOM (P < 0.001).
Conclusion: The two study populations are just seven kilometres apart geographically but there is a world of difference in their socio-economic status, availability of social infrastructure and health facilities. This presumably had reflected in the marked difference in the prevalence of CSOM between the two study populations. A collective effort of government and well meaning indigenes of rural communities in Nigeria can help promote the socio-economic status and enhance the availability of social infrastructure and health facilities of rural areas. This we hope will lead to a decline in the prevalence of CSOM in the rural areas.