Evaluation of a Short Term Education Program in Rural Southern Ethiopia
- Mia Gonzales
- Cameron Nichols
- Evelyn Ashiofu
- Patrick Butler
- Christine Zink
- Christopher McNeil
Trachoma, a bacterial infection of the eye, remains the leading cause of preventable blindness worldwide. Education programs help curb the spread of disease and several programs are student-led. This study evaluates a similar short-term education program focused on transmission and prevention of trachoma.
A one-week education program was enacted by students from Texas focusing on prevention and transmission of trachoma. Populations included 30 members of an established women’s group and 89 elementary students in Aleto Wondo, Ethiopia. A pretest was administered to evaluate baseline knowledge of this illness. After program completion, a posttest was administered to evaluate changes in knowledge and, thereby, effectiveness of the education program.
Survey results showed improvement in knowledge in both children and adults regarding the etiology of trachoma; average pretest to posttest scores improved from 48% to 74% correct in adolescents and from 57% to 90% correct in adults. Both groups showed improved knowledge regarding transmission of trachoma; average pretest to posttest scores improved from 39% to 95% correct in adolescents and from 34% to 83% correct in adults. The children showed improved knowledge regarding prevention of trachoma. However, we did not show a significant improvement in knowledge regarding prevention of trachoma in the adults.
Our work shows that this education program can be effective in increasing knowledge and prevention of trachoma, particularly among children. We hope that our education program can set an example of successful educational intervention for other student-led trips to endemic areas around the world.
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