This paper reports the findings of a study carried out on 289 families in rural Oman, to assess the knowledge of trachoma in a defined community, identify the determinants of continued transmission and endemicity of the disease, and to assess the effect of health education provided by medical students.
The study identified the prevalence of illiteracy, large family size and overcrowding as potential risk factors. Lack of knowledge in a significant number of families about causes, prevention and transmission of trachoma led to practices that promoted the spread of the disease.
We found that episodic health education by medical students did not have any lasting impact on the community. Between families who had received such health education and those who had not, there were few significant differences regarding misconceptions about the disease and undesirable practices.
The findings of this study concerning deficiency in knowledge, misconceptions and incorrect practices about trachoma are being utilised to plan a subsequent health education programme for the villagers.