Soil-transmitted helminth (STH) infections are endemic in northern Viet Nam where the climate and agricultural practices, such as the use of human excreta as fertiliser and the use of wastewater for irrigation, favour transmission. An intervention was conducted in Yen Bai Province, north-west Viet Nam, to measure the effectiveness of single dose albendazole (400 mg) administered every 4 months for reducing the prevalence of STH infections in women of reproductive age. Stool samples were collected from women before the intervention and 3 and 12 months post-intervention. Information on a range of demographic and socio-economic variables was also collected to measure the major risk factors for high STH burden in this area. The prevalence of hookworm, Ascaris lumbricoides and Trichuris trichiura infection in the baseline sample of 366 women were 76.2%, 19.2% and 29.1%, respectively. In the women who were surveyed at baseline and again at 3 and 12 months after the intervention (n = 118) cure rates were 71.3% for hookworm, 87.0% for A. lumbricoides and 81.4% for T. trichiura by the end of the 12 month study period (i.e. after three doses of albendazole). The main risk factor for hookworm infection was if women worked outside (odds ratio (OR) = 3.2 (95% Confidence Interval (CI) 1.6–6.2), P = 0.001) and the major risk factor for A. lumbricoides and T. trichiura infection was a lack of education. Low educational attainment was also the strongest risk factor for co-infection with all three species of STH (OR = 7.5 (95% CI 3.4–16.4), P < 0.001). The high rates of hookworm infection in this area of Viet Nam and the high cure rates for all three species of STH with 4 monthly albendazole treatment suggest that this programme should be expanded to all endemic areas in Viet Nam. The study also highlights the important contribution of education to women’s health.
- Ascaris lumbricoides
- Trichuris trichiura