The relationship between parental or caregiver monitoring and risky behaviours that are associated with the prevalence of schistosomiasis amongst adolescent girls living in endemic KwaZulu-Natal.
The high prevalence of schistosomiasis found in adolescents living in KwaZulu-Natal, where the co-infection of multiple diseases is rife, is concerning. Adolescence is a pivotal stage of development that is characterised by transformation and transition. During this period, children are faced with many changes that impact on their health and wellbeing and this thrusts these adolescents into new roles and experiences that can lead to them engaging in behaviours that increase their risk of negative health outcomes. However, the social context within which they exist is considered to be important in this process, especially the parentadolescent relationship. In particular, parental/caregiver monitoring is considered to serve as a buffer against risky adolescent behaviour. This study aimed to understand whether risky behaviours are prevalent amongst adolescents in KwaZulu-Natal and whether these risky behaviours are associated with schistosomiasis. This study also sought to establish whether a relationship exists between parental or caregiver monitoring, the prevalence of schistosomiasis infection amongst adolescents, and risky behaviours that increase the chances of infection. The sample consisted of 970 adolescent girls living in the Ugu district, KwaZulu-Natal. Interviews were administered and urine samples were collected. Crosstabulation analysis and binary logistic regression were utilised to analyse the data. The results indicate that there are significant associations between the prevalence of schistosomiasis and risky adolescent behaviour. Parental/caregiver monitoring was not associated with schistosomiasis infection and did not reduce the odds of schistosomiasis infection when engaging in risky water contact behaviour.