Student Dissertation

Agency : Knowledge, Attitude, Practice, IEC, BCC, Kala Azar Control

Objective : 1) To understand the knowledge and attitudes of community on kala azar control activities. 2) To understand the practices of the community on the various kala azar control activities.

Background : Bihar bears the burden of more than 80 per cent of the kala azar cases in the country. In spite of government efforts on increasing awareness and control, the awareness about kala azar is very low even in the highly endemic areas. Araria district contributes to among the highest number of case incidence of kala azar in bihar. In 2013, 746 cases of kala azar were reported from Araria district alone. Hence this study was conducted to assess the knowledge, attitudes and practices of the community on the various kala azar control activities being implemented by the government.

Methodology : A descriptive cross sectional study was conducted in two blocks of Araria District. The blocks were selected by stratified sampling, and the sub centres and villages were selected randomly. Five household heads were selected for interviews. FGDs of different groups were done to further substantiate the information collected through interviews. Structured interviews were taken for household heads and a FGD checklist was used to guide the discussions.

Findings : More than two fifths (43 per cent) of the respondents believed that Kala Azar could be transmitted from one person to the other, About 64 per cent believed kala azar was a serious disease but 35 per cent were not aware of any symptoms at all. More than half of the respondents (55 percent) thought that Kala Azar was caused by mosquito bites and more than a third (38 per cent) were not aware of the vector. About 40 per cent preferred private doctors than government facilities for treatment. Moreover, only half the respondents were aware of free diagnosis/treatment facilities at the PHC and out of those two thirds thought that he facilities were not adequate to manage cases. A third of the population was not willing to get their homes sprayed with DDT the next time. More than half the respondents did not use any specific protective measures for kala azar control and a similar proportion had their walls re-plastered after a round of DDT spraying,

Recommendations : Overall the knowledge and attitudes of the community were very low on most occasions as they were not aware of the vector, its transmission. Knowledge of free services being provided at block PHCs was also low. The practice levels were also considerably low as more than half the respondents (55 percent) did not use any protective measures. Also about 56 per cent respondents had he walls of their homes replastered after spraying. These results show that there was a need of effective IEC/BCC campaigns to be conducted to enhance knowledge, induce favourable attitudes and practices and improve community participation to help control the problem.