Prevention of Taenia solium through electronic health education
Taenia solium is a zoonotic tapeworm. Specific health education is among the control tools for this parasite. A health education tool called ‘The Vicious Worm’ (TVW) regarding T. solium was introduced in Mbeya, Tanzania, an endemic setting, to health and agricultural professionals. Ertel et al. (2015) showed that 1.5-hour introduction to TVW significantly improved the informants’ knowledge. This study revisited the same informants after one year to assess persistence of knowledge regarding T. solium taeniosis/cysticercosis and control and further to assess if the health education had changed work practices for the informants and the public. It was conducted between June and August 2015. All 79 informants included in the study by Ertel and colleagues were contacted. Sixty-four agreed to participate in a test and when possible in an interview. Additionally, four informants were purposively selected for observation studies in their villages. The test showed significant improvement in knowledge regarding T. solium taeniosis/cysticercosis. Interview data found that the informants had used TVW as an educational tool and used the knowledge from it to implement new practices consisting of bylaws and practical workshops on building latrines, pigpens and hand washing stations in their villages. The observational studies identified changes in the villages where the agriculture/livestock extension officer had educated farmers using TVW. In conclusion, introduction to TVW led to persistence in knowledge regarding T. solium and led to changed practices. To further confirm these findings, a study should be conducted where TVW is introduced and evaluated with a larger study population.
Ertel, R.L. et al., 2015. Assessment of a computer-based Taenia solium health education tool “The Vicious Worm” on knowledge uptake among professionals and their attitudes towards the program. Acta tropica. Available at:
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26536396 [Accessed November 13, 2015].