Background: The implementation of soil-transmitted helminth (STH) treatment programmes occurs in varied environmental, social and economic contexts. Programme impact will be influenced by factors that affect the reduction in the prevalence and intensity of infections following treatment, as well as the subsequent rate of reinfection. To better understand the heterogeneity of programme impact and its underlying reasons, we investigated the influence of contextual factors on reduction in STH infection as part of the national school based deworming (SBD) programme in Kenya.
Materials and methods: Data on the prevalence and intensity of infection were collected within the monitoring and evaluation component of the SBD programme at baseline and after delivery of two annual treatment rounds in 153 schools in western Kenya. Using a framework that considers STH epidemiology and transmission dynamics, capacity to deliver treatment, operational feasibility and financial capacity, data were assembled at both school and district (county) levels. Geographic heterogeneity of programme impact was assessed by descriptive and spatial analyses. Factors associated with absolute reductions of Ascaris lumbricoides and hookworm infection prevalence and intensity were identified using mixed effects linear regression modelling adjusting for baseline infection levels.
Principal findings: The reduction in prevalence and intensity of A. lumbricoides and hookworms varied significantly by county and within counties by school. Multivariable analysis of factors associated with programme impact showed that absolute A. lumbricoides reductions varied by environmental conditions and access to improved sanitation at schools or within the community. Larger reduction in prevalence and intensity of hookworms were found in schools located within areas with higher community level access to improved sanitation and within counties with higher economic and health service delivery indicator scores.
Conclusions: The study identifies factors associated with the impact of school-based deworming and in particular highlights how access to water, sanitation and hygiene and environmental conditions influence the impact of deworming programmes.