Eastern and Southern Africa Centre of International Parasite Control (ESACIPAC) conducted
stool examinations for soil transmitted helminthiases (STH) and Schistosoma mansoni
school children in Mwea Division, Central Kenya where both infections are endemic. Mass drug
administrations (MDAs) were then conducted in 2004 and 2005 using schoolteachers trained
on how to administer treatment, physically and psychologically prepare the children to take
the medication, have them eat before treatment, handle minor and refer serious side eﬀects to
local health facilities. Local health workers were on standby to help manage severe side eﬀects.
This study examined side eﬀects of the drugs and the teachers’ preparedness to handle the
children when such eﬀects occurred. No serious side eﬀects requiring referral to the health
centre occurred and the minor ones observed were temporal.
In 2005 children in Mwea schools were treated with albendazole 400mg and praziquantel
40mg/kg body weight while those of Ndia, a neighboring division treated with only albendazole
400mg since there was low S.mansoni
prevalence. Monitoring of side eﬀects was done in two
schools of Ndia and in three of Mwea through a questionnaire distributed to grade three pupils
a week after treatment.
Of 73 pupils from Mwea, 49.7% reported incidences of stomachache, vomiting/nausea, headache
and dizziness whereas 39.2% of 186 from Ndia experienced incidences of cough, stomachache
and headache. This shows that more pupils from Mwea, (albendazole and praziquantel) than
from Ndia (albendazole alone) experienced minor side eﬀects.
These results show that both drugs have temporary, minor side eﬀects, which can be managed
by trained schoolteachers by ensuring that the school children do not swallow the drugs on
an empty stomach and rest immediately after swallowing the drugs but should be closely
monitored by health personnel. In this study, one trained schoolteacher could administer
treatment to three hundred children in one day, which makes the approach cost eﬀective and
should be adopted nationally.