Socio-economic and socio-demographic factors have been considered as critical in disease epidemiology and need to be taken into consideration when designing health interventions. It is therefore strongly recommended to investigate population ownership to ensure sustainability of a given intervention. To this end, a household-based cross sectional survey was conducted to assess knowledge and perceptions regarding sleeping sickness and its control among populations of the four epicenter villages (Lambi, Bidjouka, Memel 1, and Ebimimbang) of the Bipindi sleeping sickness focus (South Region, Cameroon). It was found that the population of Bipindi is stable (64.0% of participants having spent on average 22 years in this focus), with high education level (64.8% having reached at least the secondary level). Overall, 92.8% (95% CI: 86.9-96.2) of the participants were aware of sleeping sickness or Human Africa Trypanosomiasis (HAT) and 68.3% (95% CI: 59.6-75.9) have been in contact with people who had suffered from this disease. Males had better knowledge of sleeping sickness clinical signs and mode of transmission than their female counterparts. Knowledge was associated both with gender (males exhibiting better knowledge of clinical signs and mode of transmission than females) and age group (participants aged 30-57 years having heard of HAT more frequently than people of other age groups). These findings suggest that the population of Bipindi exhibit knowledge and perceptions that can be useful for appropriation and sustainability of control interventions.
Key words: Sleeping sickness, knowledge, perception, Bipindi, Cameroon.
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