Two patient education methods, Information Media (IM) and Social Network (SN), were compared to determine their relative effectiveness on recruitment and subsequent compliance behavior of people infected with onchocerciasis in respect of appointment keeping and ivermectin consumption in existing primary health care facilities in six communities in southwestern Nigeria. Two communities each were randomly assigned to the IM intervention group, two to the SN group, and two served as controls. A total of 1265 persons out of an estimated target population of 5033 infected individuals were enrolled in the study. Coverage rates were higher in the intervention communities (30.3% for SN and 29.9% for IM) than control (7.3%), but the differences between intervention groups was not significant. A drop-off was seen in attendance at the second round of ivermectin distribution. Nearly equal proportions of the intervention groups returned (43.3% for SN and 47.4% for IM), while few control patients came back for their second dose (12.3%). Factors responsible for the low turnout were thought to include the content of educational messages, mobility of community members and limited time available to collect the drugs. Cost considerations led to recommendations to maintain facility based distribution and the SN approach, with greater emphasis on mobilization to increase coverage and compliance.
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