UNDERNUTRITION PREVALENCE AND ITS DETERMINANTS AMONG CHILDREN BELOW FIVE YEARS OF AGE IN SHABELLE ZONE, SOMALI REGION, EASTERN ETHIOPIA
Introduction: Malnutrition is a major public health problem worldwide. More than half of under-five child deaths are due to undernutrition, mainly in developing countries. Ethiopia is among the highest in Sub-Saharan Africa. While, Somali region is the worst in Ethiopia. Objection: This study aims to assess the prevalence and determinants of undernutrition among under-five children living in Gode and Adadle districts of Shabelle Zone, Somali region.
Methods: A cross sectional study was carried out in August, 2014 among 415 child-mothers/caregivers. Face-to-face interview using a standard questionnaire, scales and stadiometer measurements of children’s weight and height were done. Bivariate analysis to identify candidate variable for multivariable analysis were done. Multivariable linear regression were used to determine predictors for undernutrition.
Results: Out 415 children, 30.4% were stunted, 21.0% underweight, and 20.2% wasted, out of which 17.3%, 9.9% and 8.0% were severely stunted, wasted, and underweight, respectively. The prevalence of undernutrition significantly increased with the age of child. Male children were chronically malnourished (P=0.016), compared to females. Early initiation of breastfeeding after delivery (within one hour) decreases the number of chronic malnutrition (P<0.001). Insecticide treated nets (ITNs) users are less stunted and underweight (P=0.010 and P=0.049), respectively. The higher the number of under-five children in the family (β=-0.4, P=0.001) the lower z-score for weight for age, and being urban/semi-urban residence decreases the z-score for height for age and weight for age (β= -1.132, P=0.001, and β=-0.355, P=0.025), respectively.
Conclusion: Undernutrition was high in the study area. The main predictors of undernutrition were age and sex of the children, initiation of breastfeeding, and ITNs uses. It is important to focus on awareness creation using behaviour change communication (BCC) on sustainable nutrition education programs for parents, youths, elders, teachers, and school children. Besides that, health workers and health extension workers capacity building are also necessary.