Date of Conferral





Public Health


Dr. Wen-Hung Kuo


Neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) are the most common health conditions affecting the poorest residents of sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). These infections affect an estimated 2 billion people worldwide, including 500 million people living in SSA. About 85% of NTD infections are a result of helminth infections; hookworm is also a common occurrence among SSA’s poorest people, especially children. Schistosomiasis is the 2nd most prevalent NTD after hookworm. This quantitative correlational study investigated population distribution and the spread of NTDs in Sierra Leone. The focus was on 5 major NTDs: ascariasis, hookworm, schistosomiasis, soil-transmitted helminthiasis, and trichuris. Data were obtained from the Sierra Leone Ministry of Health and Sanitation and the World Health Organization (N=1,537). Due to data availability, correlation analysis was limited to climate pattern (temperature and precipitation change), population density, and prevalence of NTDs. Logistic regression analysis was also used to test the research hypotheses. Population density was taken as the dependent variable, and temperature and precipitation were taken as the independent variables. The results of this study did not show a relationship between climate patterns, as measured by temperature and precipitation trend, and population density in Sierra Leone. Furthermore, this study did not indicate any association between population density and the prevalence of NTDs in Sierra Leone. In future studies on similar topics, it is recommended that researchers collect pretreatment and posttreatment data on the same populations. Thorough and complete data sets should be collected for population movement and density as well as disease prevalence. More should be done to improve public health infrastructure and funding to prevent the transmission of neglected tropical diseases.