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MARCH Outcome Evaluation

5.4. Exposure to the MARCH and Knowledge of symptoms of Sexual Transmitted Infections (STIs)

One of the objectives of the MARCH intervention was to improve the knowledge of the target population in relation to STIs. In almost all healthcare settings in Ethiopia, the treatment of STIs follows a syndromatic approach based on a national guideline that was adopted in 2001.  The MARCH intervention was also given due emphasis to improve target population’s knowledge relevant to STIs. Thus, respondents’ knowledge of the various major symptoms of STIs was used among the key indicators in this evaluation. A total of eight major symptoms of STIs were reported spontaneously and via probing, which include (1) genital discharge (2) lower abdominal pain (3) foul smelling discharge (4) genital ulcer (5) genital rash (6) pain/burning during urination (7) swelling in groin/genital area and (8) itching in genital area.     

As shown in Table 6, in both of the sites, respondents’ knowledge of the various symptoms of STIs has shown significant positive correlation with exposure to the MARCH. The proportion who heard of STIs also significantly increased among those exposed to the intervention, as compared to the non-exposed. In particular, quite statistical significant improvement was noted in West Hararghe, ranging from 32.1% among the non-exposed to 63.1% and 66.8%, respectively, among the moderately-and highly-exposed respondents (p<0.000).  Likewise, in both of the sites, the mean number of reported correct symptoms of STIs has also shown significant positive correlation with exposure to the MARCH. These associations retained in the multivariate regression analysis that took account of sex, age, educational status and marital status of respondents (Table 7), suggesting that the effect of the intervention was not altered by the diversity of the socio-demographic characteristics between the exposed and non-exposed respondents. Particularly, the effect of the intervention in improving respondents’ knowledge on the symptoms of STIs was quite notable in West Hararghe.  For example, while only 9.1% of the non-exposed respondents from West Hararghe mentioned genital ulcer, the corresponding figures for the moderately- and highly-exposed respondents were 21.3% and 28.8%,

Addis Ababa and West Hararghe

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