Community mapping and transect walks to determine schistosomiasis risk factors related to WASH practices in KwaZulu-Natal
A high prevalence of schistosomiasis has been reported among primary school-going children in KwaZulu-Natal. The study aim was to conduct a community diagnosis of WASH conditions by assessing water, sanitation, and hygiene practices and to identify risk factors for schistosomiasis using participatory research methodologies. Community mapping and transect walks were conducted in Madeya village within Ingwavuma area. Thirty-six participants, comprising 19 women and 17 men aged 22–68 years participated in the study. Data were analysed using the Braun and Clarke (2006) six steps of thematic analysis. Themes reported in relation to schistosomiasis risk factors included: 1) water scarcity as a risk factor for schistosomiasis; 2) village proximity to the river as a risk factor for schistosomiasis; 3) prolonged contact with open water bodies for domestic and recreational purposes as a risk factor for schistosomiasis; 4) poor irrigation practices as a risk factor for schistosomiasis; and 5) poor sanitation and hygiene practices. The river was the main source of water for domestic use and irrigation. Consequently, members of the community were exposed to the risk of schistosomiasis infection. Open defecation was observed in the case of children, and men confessed to doing it when in the field herding animals.