Prevalence and factors associated with malnutrition in children aged 6-59 months in post conflict Kitgum District in Northern Uganda
Introduction: Northern Uganda is emerging from two decades of conflict from 1986 to 2006. Health and nutritional well being are potentially major challenges in these resettling communities mainly due to limited access to farm land, phasing out of food aid intervention and inadequate access to health care and healthy environment. Objective; To determine the prevalence and factors associated with malnutrition in children 6 to 59 months in post conflict Kitgum district, northern Uganda Methodology: This was a cross sectional study carried out in July 2014 involving children aged 6-59 months in Kitgum district. Anthropometric measurements of 768 children were undertaken and their care takers interviewed. The households were selected through a two staged sampling. All 9 sub counties in the district were selected from which 30/53(56.6%) parishes/clusters were randomly selected proportional to their population size. . Data were captured using the Microsoft Access software and the ENA tool was used to computerize Z scores. Data were analyzed using SATA version 12. Results: The prevalence of stunting was 29%, wasting 13% and underweight 26%. Factors significantly associated with stunting were; having more than 2 children under the age of 2 years in the household (AOR 1.94; 95% CI 1.15-3.28; P=0.01) and not having farm land (AOR 1.46; 95% C1 1.04-2.07; P=0.03). Factors significantly associated with wasting included; low maternal education (AOR 1.89 95%CI 1.02-3.45-; P=0.042) and not having farm land (AOR 1.84 95%CI 1.18-2.86; P=0.01).The factors that were associated with underweight were; having a mother with low education (AOR 1.57; 95% CI 1.196-2.490); P=0.03) and having no farm land (AOR 2.23; 95%CI 1.462-3.422; P=<0.001). Conclusion: The prevalence of malnutrition in post conflict Kitgum district as determined by stunting, wasting and underweight was high. Lack of farm land was significantly associated with all 3 forms of malnutrition studied (stunting, wasting and underweight). Other factors found to be associated with malnutrition were: low mother’s education for both wasting and underweight; and having more than two children under the age of 5year in a household, for stunting. Recommendations; There should be improved access to farm land; scaled up coverage of services for the early identification and treatment of children with wasting. and girl child/ female education should be strengthened, in Kitgum district and possibly the rest of post conflict northern Uganda.