Southeast Asian J Trop Med Public Health. 1993 ; 24 Suppl 2(): 82-90.
Recent advances in the social and behavioral aspects of filariasis.
Faculty of Social Sciences and Humanities, Mahidol University at Salaya, Nakhon Pathom, Thailand.
Despite an increased awareness of the significance of social and behavioral influences upon various aspects of filariasis, there has been a relative lack of research that has specifically attempted to assess such factors from the outset. Instead, the norm has been to indirectly discover social and behavioral patterns primarily as a byproducts of epidemiological and clinical surveys. The exception to this has been a recent surge of research interest in this domain that was initiated by a commitment by the UNDP/World Bank/WHO Special Programme for Research and Training in Tropical Diseases (TDR), although it is clear that more research is needed. The results of those few studies that have been conducted concerning the roles of behavioral (knowledge, attitudes, beliefs, practice) and socio-cultural factors are reviewed in this paper, highlighting how an acknowledgement of such factors contributes of a greater understanding of the relevant issues, thus allowing for more relevant and feasible health education/intervention programs. Finally, recent research conducted by two of the present authors in Nakhon Si Thammarat Province in Southern Thailand, which is noted for having the highest filariasis morbidity rate in the country, is presented and discussed. This is followed by recommendations for appropriate health education programs, and suggestions for future research.