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Background: Primary school teachers are key stakeholders in the success of school-based deworming activity as they are responsible for drug administration and provision of health education to the School-Age Children (SAC). In Kenya, the National School-Based Deworming Programme (NSBDP) for control of soil-transmitted helminths and schistosomiasis was initiated in the year 2012 in prioritised areas. By the year 2013, over 6 million SAC had been treated. The present study sought to assess the teachers’ perceptions and experiences of the school-based deworming activity in an effort to improve programme effectiveness.
Methods: Qualitative data were collected, using in-depth interviews, in 4 subcounties of the coastal region of Kenya. Using purposive selection, 1 primary school teacher from each of the 38 schools also purposively selected participated in the study. The data were audio-recorded, transcribed, coded and analysed manually by study themes which included: reason for being selected for training to administer drugs; perceptions of training content and duration; experiences during drug acquisition, administration and record-keeping and motivation to continue participating in the deworming of school-age children.
Results: Half of the teachers indicated that they were selected to administer drugs to children as they were responsible for school health matters. The duration and content of the training were considered sufficient, and no challenges were faced during drug acquisition. Challenges faced during drug administration included non-compliance and experience of side effects of the drugs. No major problems were experienced in record-keeping, although the teachers felt that the forms needed to be simplified. Improvement of the children’s health and class performance was reported as a source of motivation to the teachers to continue administering the drugs. Fellow teachers were reported to have given moral support while over half of the respondents indicated that parents did not provide much support.
Conclusion: Generally, teachers have positive experiences and perceptions of the deworming activity. There is, however, a need to involve all stakeholders especially the parents through the school board of management to help counter non-compliance and possibly support in providing meals to the children to help minimise side effects after drug consumption. Inadequate moral support and incentives are negative factors on the teachers’ motivation.