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Keywords:

  • community perception;
  • Ghana;
  • helminth infection;
  • schistosomiasis;
  • school-based health programmes;
  • Tanzania

This paper presents the results of an evaluation of community perception of two large-scale, government-run, school-based health programmes delivering anthelmintic drugs to primary school children, in Ghana (80 442 children in 577 schools) and Tanzania (110 000 children in 352 schools). Most teachers (96% in Ghana and 98% in Tanzania) were positive about their role in the programme, including administration of anthelmintic drugs, and parents and children fully accepted their taking on this role. The benefits of the programme were apparent to teachers, parents and children in terms of improved health and well-being of the children. Over 90% of parents in both Ghana and Tanzania indicated a willingness to pay for the continuation of drug treatment. The evaluation also highlighted areas that are critical to programme effectiveness, such as communication between schools and parents, the issue of collaboration between the health and education sectors, parents’ perception of the importance of helminth infection as a serious and chronic health problem (compared with more acute and life threatening illnesses such as malaria), and who should pay for treatment of side-effects.