Association between water related factors and active trachoma in Hai district, Northern Tanzania

Michael J Mahande, Humphrey D Mazigo and Eliningaya J Kweka
Publication year: 

Background: Trachoma is widely distributed in sub-Saharan Africa and is mainly associated with poor water accessibility. However, these associations have never been demonstrated in some of the communities, especially in northern Tanzania. To cover that gap, the present case control study was conducted to assess the association of water related factors, general hygiene and active trachoma among preschool and school age children in Hai district, northern Tanzania.

Results: Families reported to use > 60 litres of water per day were less likely to have active disease (OR= 0.4, 95% CI: 0.1 - 0.3; P<0.001) compared to households collecting 60 litres. The risk of having trachoma increased with increase in distance to the water point (OR= 6.5, 95% CI; 1.8 - 16.7; P= 0.003). Households members who reported to use < 2 liters of water for face washing were more likely to be trachomatous (OR= 5.12, 95% CI: 1.87-14.6, P = 0.001). Increased number of preschool children in the household was also associated with increased risk of active trachoma by 2.46 folds.

Conclusions: Improving water supply near the households and providing public health education focusing on improving households socio-economic status and individual hygiene especially in pre-school children in part will help to reduce the prevalence of the disease. In addition, integrating public health education with other interventions such as medical interventions remains important.