EVALUATION OF ONCHOCERCIASIS CONTROL PROGRAMME IN IGBOEZE NORTH LOCAL GOVERNMENT AREA OF ENUGU STATE
This study evaluated the Onchocerciasis Control Programme in Igboeze North Local Government Area of Enugu State. It evaluated the availability of Onchocerciasis control services, the availability and adequacy of qualified services providers and materials, the level of utilization of Onchocerciasis control services and the level of sustainability of these services in the LGA. The factors evaluated in relation to the utilization of the services included, the distance of people to the nearest health facility, age and gender influences. To achieve the purpose of the study, seven research questions were formulated and three null hypotheses postulated. The study adopted the descriptive survey research design. It covered the 49 villages/communities in Igboeze North LGA, of whom 662 community-directed distributors, 245 community/opinion leaders, 35 Front-line health facility staff and the three team members of the local Onchocerciasis control team were studied. There was no sampling as the entire population was studied through the use of three sets of questionnaires and programme data stored in the local government headquarters and the health facilities. For the purpose of reaching valid conclusions, data collected were analyzed quantitatively using frequency distribution and percentages in respect of research questions one through five and mean and standard deviation for research questions six and seven. The Student t-test and ANOVA statistics were used to verify the three hypotheses at .05 level of significance. Data generated from programme records were used to confirm information got from respondents. The study revealed that Mectizan™ distribution, annual training and retraining of community-directed distributors and community self-monitors were available to a good extent, while health education and mobilization and monitoring of community self-monitors were available to a lesser extent. It also revealed that all the services personnel and materials were available but the adequacy remained a problem. The study further revealed that the distance of the people to the nearest health facility affected the utilization level of the services, while age did not. Further on, gender affected the utilization of community self-monitoring services, while it did not affect Mectizan distribution and health education and mobilization. Based on the major findings and conclusions, it was recommended that the state government and the local government should ensure the availability and adequacy of programme personnel and materials, and improve on the funding of the programme. The community was recommended to fully assume the ownership of the programme by meeting frequently to discuss programme strategies, select and compensate CDDs and also monitor the activities of such CDDs.