COMPARATIVE ASSESSMENT OF NUTRITION STATUS AND ASSOCIATED FACTORS AMONG CHILDREN AGED 6-59 MONTHS FROM THE REFUGEE HOST COMMUNITY AND NON-HOST COMMUNITY OF ISINGIRO DISTRICT
Okiria, Apio Benardate
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Background: Proxy-indicators in nutrition among under-fives assess, monitor well-being of populations. Under-nutrition is a public health concern in refugee hosting districts which are rural with generally poor social services. Refugee influxes strain local resources increasing vulnerabilities of surrounding communities. These districts receive support to strengthen social service sectors and build resilience. In practice, implementation is meagre. Nonetheless, nearby communities may benefit more than communities away, therefore differences in well-being hence requiring prioritisation. Objective: This study therefore, sought to compare the nutrition status and associated factors among children aged 6-59 months from the refugee host community and non-host community of Isingiro district. Methods: A comparative cross-sectional study of a quantitative approach was conducted. A random sample of 556 children, 278 in either community were assessed for under-nutrition and caretakers interviewed using a semi structured questionnaire. Summary statistics, chi-squares and odds ratios were computed. Results: The prevalence of stunting, wasting and underweight in the host community were 37%, 11.9%, and 8.3% respectively. The prevalence of stunting, wasting and underweight in the non-host community were 26.3%, 5%, 5.4% respectively. The prevalence of stunting and underweight were statistically significantly different (χ2=7.5, p-value 0.006; χ2=8.4, p-value 0.004) among the host and non-host community. In both communities, older children were more likely to be stunted. In the host community, female children were less likely to be underweight (AOR: 0.33; CI: 0.4-0.76) or wasted (AOR: 0.29; CI: 0.10-0.81). Fathers or male caretakers participating less in childcare was associated to wasting (AOR: 4.2; CI: 1.58-11.2). In the non-host community, food secure households were protective against stunting (Adjusted PR: 0.59; CI: 0.35-0.98) and males helping maternal caretakers in house chores was associated to underweight (AOR: 0.23; CI: 0.08-0.71). Conclusion and Recommendation: The host community suffers most stunting and underweight; its well-being may be the most compromised. Interventions should target the host community most to address under-nutrition.