Socio-economic and demographic factors explaining anaemia levels in children under five years in Uganda (Reanalysis of UDHS 2006)
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The last decade of the 20th century and the first decade of the 21st century have witnessed impressive reductions in the risk of under-five child mortality, however, these reductions are not reflective of the Millennium Development Goal 4 (MDG-4) target which seeks to reduce the under five mortality rates by two thirds between 1990 and 2015(1991 IMR 122, 1991 CMR 203). Presently according to 2006 UDHS, Infant mortality rate stands at 76 per 1,000 live births, under five mortality rate at 137 per 1,000 live births (UBOS 2007). This study sought to examine the importance of socio-economic and demographic factors on the occurrence of anemia in children under-five years. A total of 2110 children aged 6months to 59 months, who were tested for anaemia, was extracted from the UDHS 2006. A two stage analysis was done, frequency tables were run at the Univariate level, Bi-variate analysis done using the chi square, and the Logit regression was used at the multivariate level. Out of 2110 children reviewed, 50.4% were female, 73.5% had anaemia, and a quarter were aged 12-23 months at the time of survey. The findings showed reduced anaemia among female children, who had a 20% risk reduction to being anemic compared to their male counter parts. Young mothers, mothers from less wealthy households, lack of maternal education, rural maternal residence and mothers residing in households that owned no latrine, had a positive association to a child’s being anaemic. Children, who had increased duration of breast feeding, were of low birth order and those whose mothers were married at the time of the survey were less likely to be anemic. The risk of anaemia reduces with increasing age and household wealth index. Children from rural residences were as twice more likely to be anaemic than those leaving in urban areas. Increased duration of breast feeding beyond 12 months, good nutrition status, reduced provision of solid food diet to children and household ownership of a latrine were protective to children from being anaemic. Children with mothers of age 25 years and above and had attained secondary plus education level had reduced risk of developing anaemia. Thus improving household socioeconomic status, through programs such as Poverty Eradication, PMA, NAADs, infant and young child feeding (IYCF), creating awareness of the availability of these programs and increasing their accessibility to women, girl child education, and collaborative efforts to improve environmental sanitation and increase latrine coverage, would help address anaemia among children 6-59 months and as thus reduce under five mortality.