Open Access Open Badges Research article

Knowledge, attitude and practices related to visceral leishmaniasis among residents in Addis Zemen town, South Gondar, Northwest Ethiopia

Agersew Alemu, Abebe Alemu*, Nuraini Esmael, Yared Dessie, Kedir Hamdu, Biniam Mathewos and Wubet Birhan

Author affiliations

School of Biomedical and Laboratory Sciences, College of Medicine and Health Sciences, University of Gondar, Gondar, Ethiopia

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Citation and License

BMC Public Health 2013, 13:382  doi:10.1186/1471-2458-13-382

Published: 24 April 2013



Visceral leishmaniasis (VL), commonly known as kala-azar is a systemic disease caused by parasitic protozoan species of genus Leishmania and transmitted by species of Phlebotomus (sand flies). It is a poverty-related disease and associated with malnutrition, displacement, poor housing, weakness of the immune system and lack of resources. For the success of prevention and control programs of any disease, the most important prerequisite is community participation. Therefore, this study was aimed to assess the knowledge, attitude and practice of residents towards VL in Addis Zemen town, south Gondar, Northwest Ethiopia.


Community based cross-sectional study was conducted among residents in Addis Zemen town from February to March 2012. A total of 346 households were selected by using simple random sampling techniques from three kebeles in the town. Data was collected using structured Questionnaire. For knowledge, attitude and practice variables each right response was given a score of 1 while a wrong or unsure response was scored 0. Data were double entered and analyzed using SPSS-15 statistical software. The frequency distribution of both dependent and independent variables were worked out.


From a total of 346 study participants (136 males and 210 females), 87.6% heard of the disease kala-azar. From participants who heard about kala-azar 93.5% males and 86.7% females had awareness about the disease. The majority (95.7%) of participants had favourable attitude towards the treatment of kala-azar whereas 14.8% didn’t use anything to prevent it. More than half of the respondents (68.6%) did practice proper methods for the prevention and control of kala-azar in the study area.


In general our findings showed that the residents had good awareness and favourable attitude about the disease, but their overall practice about prevention and control of the disease was low. Therefore, our investigation call for continued and strengthened behavioral change communication and social mobilization related activities.

KAP; Visceral Leishmaniasis; Addis Zemen