Improving Current Helminth Control Strategies: Lessons from a Baseline Prevalence Survey of Soil-Transmitted Helminth Infections in Adolescent Females and Pregnant Women in Selected Local Government Units in the Philippines

Vicente Y. Belizario, Jr.,1,2 Francis Isidore G. Totañes,1 Yvonne C. Lumampao3  and June Rose A. Naig1

1National Institutes of Health, University of the Philippines Manila
2College of Public Health, University of the Philippines Manila
3National Center for Disease Prevention and Control, Department of Health, Philippines

Objectives. This study utilized a cross-sectional study design to determine the prevalence and intensity of STH infections among adolescent females and pregnant women, to describe the nutritional status of the two population groups in selected study sites in the Philippines, and to propose a scheme for classification of endemic sties as basis for conduct of control strategies.

Methods. Parasitologic assessment was conducted through examination of collected stool samples using the Kato-Katz technique, while nutritional status was assessed through primary height and weight measurements.

Results. Results of the parasitologic assessment in adolescent females showed an overall cumulative prevelance of 30.4% (12.5% - 61.8%) and a prevalence of heavy intensity infection of 7.9% (0.7% - 22.6%). In pregnant women, overall cumulative prevalence was 31.5% (13.2% - 75.8%) and prevalence  of heavy intensity infection was 10.2% (0.9% - 39.6%).

Conclusion. Significant differences in prevalence in the different sentinel sites suggest the need to consider a modified classification scheme for endemic communities to determine the most cost-effective strategies for morbidity control. The utilization of this classification scheme alongside regular sentinel surveillance will help validate the scheme and contribute towards the development of more appropriate program guidelines for nationwide implementation.

Key Words: adolescent females, control measures, neglected tropical diseases, nutritional status, pregnant women, risk category, soil-transmitted helminth infections