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Attitude and Knowledge of Primary Health Care Physicians and Local Inhabitants about Leishmaniasis and Sandfly in West Alexandria

Authors: Randa M. Ali, Naguiba F. Loutfy, Osama M. Awad


Leishmaniasis is the collective name for a number of diseases caused by protozoan flagellates of the genus Leishmania, which is transmitted by Phlebotomine sandfly, the disease has diverse clinical manifestations and found in many areas of the world, particularly in Africa, Latin America, South and Central Asia, the Mediterranean basin and the Middle East. This study was done to assess primary health care physicians’ knowledge (PHP) and attitude about leishmaniasis and to assess awareness of local inhabitants about the disease and its vector in four areas in west Alexandria, Egypt. It is a cross sectional survey that was conducted in four PHC units in west Alexandria. All physicians currently working in these units during the study period were invited to participate in the study; only 20 PHP completed the questionnaire. 60 local inhabitants were selected randomly from the four areas of the study, 15 from each area; Data was collected through two different specially designed questionnaires. Results showed that 11 (55%) percent of the physicians had satisfactory knowledge; they answered more than 9 (60%) questions out of a total 14 questions about leishmaniasis and sandfly. On the other hand when attitude of the primary health care physicians about leishmaniasis was measured, results showed that 17 (85%) had good attitude and 3 (15%) had poor attitude. The second questionnaire showed that the awareness of local inhabitants about leishmaniasis and sandfly as a vector of the disease is poor and needs to be corrected. (90%) of the interviewed inhabitants had not heard about leishmaniasis, Only 3 (5%) of them said they know sandfly and its role in transmission of leishmaniasis. Thus we conclude that knowledge and attitudes of physicians are acceptable. However, there is, room for improvement and could be done through formal training courses and distribution of guidelines. In addition to raising the awareness of primary health care physicians about the importance of early detection and notification of cases of leishmaniasis, health education for raising awareness of the public regarding the vector and the disease is necessary because related studies have demonstrated that for inhabitants to take enough protective measures against the vector, they should perceive that it is responsible for causing a disease.

Keywords: Knowledge, attitude, leishmaniasis, PHP, local inhabitants, sandfly, inside and outside housing conditions

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