Prevalence of acute malnutrition and associated factors among children 6 to 59 months that present to Assessment Centre at Mulago Hospital
MetadataShow full item record
INTRODUCTION: Malnutrition has a number of contributing factors which may be dietary, environmental and social, or related to the child’s health. It is important that children grow up in an environment that provides adequate nutrition required for optimal growth. A number of studies have been done on this topic before, however with rising food prices, rural-urban migration, food security issues, climate change and changing economic status in homes; the nutrition status of children in communities is likely to be changing as well. This study established the current nutrition status of children attending Mulago Hospital with medical conditions. OBJECTIVES: To determine the prevalence and factors associated with malnutrition among children aged 6 to 59 months that present to Assessment centre at Mulago Hospital. STUDY DESIGN: The study was descriptive and cross sectional. STUDY SETTING: The study was conducted in Mulago Hospital, Uganda’s national referral hospital, which is situated in the capital city of Kampala. STUDY POPULATION: The study population included all children attending the Mulago Assessment Centre in Mulago Hospital, Uganda. STUDY METHOD: Seven hundred and eleven (711) children aged 6 to 59 months were enrolled. Their anthropometric measurements were taken and interviews with the caretakers focusing on medical history and food availability were done. The proportion of children with malnutrition was analyzed and associated factors determined using multivariate analysis. STUDY UTILITY: The study contributed to the current understanding of malnutrition among children attending Mulago Hospital. This information was vital in targeting health education among care-givers of children that are brought to hospital. It contributed to knowledge for planning of child health services in Mulago Hospital and other Uganda health facilities. RESULTS: The overall prevalence of acute malnutrition was 15%, with moderate acute malnutrition contributing 8% and severe acute malnutrition 7%. Factors that were independently associated with acute malnutrition included weight loss (OR 1.7, CI 0.9-3.1 p=0.093) and child hunger (OR 0.4, CI 0.2- 0.8 p=0.011) under food security. CONCLUSION: The prevalence of acute malnutrition is high among children aged 6 to 59 months attending Mulago hospital. RECOMMENDATIONS: 1. Screening of all children brought to Assessment centre for malnutrition should be strengthened; 2. An Outpatient Therapeutic Clinic should be established in Assessment Centre to handle the children with acute malnutrition; 3. Deliberate efforts should be made to improve household food security in order to prevent child malnutrition.