Assessing the relationship of caregivers' knowledge, attitudes and practices with the nutrition status of their under five year children in Nakapiripirit district - Uganda
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Introduction: Karamoja region a home of about 1.0 million Karamojong people (UBOS 2014) has high prevalence of malnutrition among children under 5 years of age. In Nakapiripirit district alone, malnutrition is responsible for quarter of the in-patient monthly admissions at the health facilities (HMIS 2012). Although efforts to control malnutrition have been ongoing since 2007 through various partners, acute malnutrition levels in the study area have persistently remained high over the years. This study aimed at assessing the relationships between KAP of caregivers and the nutrition status of U5 (6- 59 months) children in Nakapiripirit district. Methods: A cross sectional study design employing both quantitative and qualitative methods of data collection was used. The target population were caregivers to U5 (6- 59 months) children. A total of 273 caregivers were interviewed in 273 households that were selected by simple random sampling. Qualitative data was collected using FGD guides, KII guides and observation check lists while quantitative data was collected using semi structured questionnaires. Using SPSS, frequency distribution tables, graphs and cross tabulations were drawn and a logistic regression analysis, reporting Odds Ratios (OR) and confidence intervals (CI) were used to determine the levels of association and inferred statistical significance. Results: The study results showed GAM and SAM levels of 6.3% and 0.8% respectively. A third of caregivers (36.3%) had at least one malnourished child while those with two or more children U5 years had a high likelihood of having malnourished children [Adjusted OR= 1.8, 95% CI (1.04-3.29, p-value of 0.037)].It was also observed that 62.3% of these caregivers never knew the right weaning age. Additionally, households whose caregiver never knew the five critical hand washing moments, were two and a half times more at risk of having a malnourished child as compared to those who knew the critical hand washing moments [Adjusted OR= 2.6, 95% CI (1.02- 6.54),p-value, 0.04]. Conclusion and Recommendations: This study has demonstrated that 36% of the caregivers had at least one malnourished child in Nakapiripirit District. Malnutrition was more prominent among caregivers who had more than two children under 5 years, were weaning at wrong age and who never knew the critical hand washing times. These results indicate that nutrition programmes should maintain focus on educating caregivers on the importance of weaning a child at the right age, observation of critical hand washing, proper hygiene and sanitation, and family planning (spacing) in order to reduce malnutrition in Karamoja region.