The increase in uptake of treatment in school-aged children in Uganda with the provision of a snack before mass treatment of schistosomiasis with praziquantel has been reported by a study.
The researchers reached these conclusions by conducting a cluster randomized controlled trial in Jinja district, Uganda. Twelve primary schools were randomized to receive education messages for schistosomiasis prevention with or without a pre-treatment snack (mango juice and donuts) shortly before treatment with praziquantel, and four weeks later, the researchers interviewed a random sample of 1,284 children from the schools and collected stool samples to test for Schistosoma mansoni infection. In addition to the increased uptake of praziquantel in the children from the snack schools, they found these children were less likely to report side effects (34.4% vs. 46.7%) and had a lower prevalence (1.3% vs. 14.1%) and lower intensity (38.3 vs. 78.4 eggs per gram of stool) of S. mansoni infection, compared with those children from the non-snack schools.
The researchers acknowledge that it is possible that children could have provided socially desirable answers regarding uptake and the occurrence of side effects, however, the infection prevalence and intensity findings validated the self-reported uptake.