Prevalence and treatment of diarrhea in children less than five years
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Infectious diseases account for more than half of all child deaths in developing countries (WHO, 2005). Diarrhea is one of the leading causes of child morbidity. In this study we investigated the relationship between socio-economic(Household wealth status, mother education, father’s education, mother’s employment and residence), demographic (age, birth order and sex of child and age of mother) and environmental/household factors (house structure, household size, toilet facility and source of water) and the occurrence and treatment of diarrhea (independent variables). Analysis was confined to children aged between 0-59months. Factors significant for diarrhea prevalence included living in northern region (OR=1.76), age of child between 6 and 11 months (OR=2.351) and child aged one year (OR=1.9) while children three years and above were more likely to receive home treatment rather than health facility treatment. Also households with more than three children aged less than five years were more likely to treat their children at home. Significant differences have been noticed regarding how these factors determine diarrhea morbidity and health seeking behavior. While previous studies found out that parental education especially the mother was a significant determinant of both diarrhea prevalence and health seeking behavior, this study shows that these factors were not significant at multivariate analysis despite the significant variations in diarrhea prevalence at bivariate analysis. A similar analysis should be done using the subsequent UDHS data to study the temporal trends or patterns of how the factors affect diarrhea morbidity and health seeking behavior. Also given the high prevalence of diarrhea, a mass immunization policy targeting the most affected age groups(6 months to 1 year) need to be adopted.