An assessment of the prevalence of diarrhoea in children aged one to five years and the families ability to implement or support environment control measures that reduce diarrhoea incidence in this age group in Itala Village and Mkushi Housing Estate, Mkushi District, Zambia
Nguluwe, Albert Shadreck
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This study looks at the prevalence of diarrhoea in children aged one to five years and their families' ability to implement or support environmental control measures that reduce diarrhoea incidence in this age group from a micro level by taking Itala village (with 3000 people) and Mkushi Housing Estate(with 3000 people) as a comparative case study.A cross-sectional study was conducted from December 1997 to February 1998 to collect the necessary data for this study. The information tools were parents of the children, departmental authorities and medical records. Further confirmation was done by an environmental survey. Data was entered into an EPS in-for 6 computer and analysed.A sample of 100 respondents and 60 discussants randomly selected was drawn from 960 parents for a close-ended-precoded questionnaire and FGD respectively and two departmental officials were interviewed. In the sample of respondents the average age was 30 years, average family size 9 people and average income K87,610. From each of the residential areas 50 respondents answered the questionnaire and 30 discussants participated in FGDs. The main findings were: •Diarrhoea prevalence [i.el70/1000], in both residential areas, was a problem. Both infectious and non infectious forms were present. Itala Village had a higher prevalence rate than the Housing Estate. •Some families did not have the ability to implement or support environmental control measures as they v^^ere not exposed to intervention programmes, These were found to be; very poor (94%), illiterate (37%) and with too young parents (24%). •The Test of significance on Itala Village shows that there was a relationship between diarrhoea prevalence and characteristics of attitude (P value = 0.00257930) and practice (P value = 0.03879086) unlike in the Housing Estate where income had an influence (P value = 0.093137).Overall 97% of the parents demonstrated that they were implementing the various components of diarrhoea control programme and also complied with advice. The major deficiencies appear to be in identifying and relating to their needs such as in planning to alleviate poverty (as 94% were poor), avoiding early marriage (as 24% were young), acquiring good levels of education (as 37% were illiterate), providing quality water supplies (as all water sources had 1100 + MPN faecal coliforms) and enabling local authorities acquire a solid financial base to promote good sanitation, quality water supplies and health education programmes.Recommendations are made to improve KAP, income, and policy formulation and implementation with the actual constraints in mind.