The extent of protective footwear use among school-age rural children at high risk for podoconiosis and socio-economic correlates: a household cross-sectional survey in Southern Ethiopia

Tora, Abebayehu, Tadele, Getnet, Davey, Gail and McBride, Colleen M (2021) The extent of protective footwear use among school-age rural children at high risk for podoconiosis and socio-economic correlates: a household cross-sectional survey in Southern Ethiopia. PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases, 15 (10). a0009791 1-16. ISSN 1935-2727

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Abstract

Background
Podoconiosis is preventable if genetically susceptible people wear shoes starting from an early age and do so consistently. However, lack of routine use of footwear is one of the major risk factors for podoconiosis and several other foot-related Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs). This study is aimed at describing the extent of footwear use among school-age rural children susceptible to the disease and investigating associated socioeconomic factors.

Methods
Cross sectional surveys were conducted in 330 randomly selected households in Wolaita zone, southern Ethiopia. A household head and a child aged between 9 and 15 years were recruited from each household. Household heads provided socioeconomic data while children were asked about their footwear ownership and footwear use.

Results
Nearly half (49.5%) of the children reported either walking barefoot or wearing under-protective footwear in a range of situations. Girls, older children, those in higher school grades, who belonged to families with higher socio-economic status, and those who owned a larger number of pairs of footwear reported more protective use of footwear. The linear regression model constituting the adequacy of footwear ownership and interaction term (i.e. family socioeconomic status by adequacy of footwear ownership) variables explained 30% of variance in the protective use of footwear (AR2 = 0.307). The interaction effect of adequate ownership of footwear and family socioeconomic status consistently predicted the protective use of footwear among children (β = -0.175, p<0.01) though the main effect of adequacy of footwear ownership was stronger (β = 0.507, p<0.001).

Conclusion
Increased adoption of protective footwear is needed to effectively prevent school-age children living in endemic areas from developing podoconiosis and other neglected tropical diseases. Interventions aimed to improve the protective footwear use should consider approaches that also increase the socio-economic capacity of families in podoconiosis endemic communities.

Item Type: Article
Schools and Departments: Brighton and Sussex Medical School > Global Health and Infection
SWORD Depositor: Mx Elements Account
Depositing User: Mx Elements Account
Date Deposited: 30 Sep 2021 06:58
Last Modified: 05 Oct 2021 12:15
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/101983

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