Determining the point prevalence of manultrition in children aged two years and below in two urban zonal health centres in Lusaka
Goma, Cornhill Audrey
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While the global status seems to be definite in statistics, published research apart from the Zambia Demographic Health Survey, providing reliable data in the City of Lusaka was limiting particularly involving anthropometric data on the height-for-age and weight-for-height of under-five children.The study aimed at determining the point prevalence of malnutrition for children aged two years and below in two urban zonal child health centres in Lusaka.A cross sectional quantitative study design involving 366 children aged two years and below who attended child health clinics were randomly sampled, their weights, length and Mid Upper Arm Circumference were measured. Three anthropological indices using z scores were used to determine the level of malnutrition and the type of malnutrition.The results show that the overall point prevalence for wasting in this study was 20%. However, the point prevalence for wasting in the two settings were as follows; Chipata was 22.6 % and Chilenje was 16.8 %. The overall point prevalence for Height for Age Index (stunting) was 32.2 %. However, the point prevalences for stunting in the two settings were as follows; Chipata was 27.6 % and Chilenje was 37.7%. The overall point prevalence for underweight was 56%. However, the point prevalences for underweight in the two settings were as follows; Chipata was 51.3 % and Chilenje was 61.7%. A detailed examination of malnutrition showed that there was no difference across sex in the prevalence of malnutrition. All the three degrees of malnutrition were prevalent in children of all age intervals and that different determinants may be at play. The following variables were associated with malnutrition: Type of feeding, maternal infection, education, income, employment and being a twin. The results suggest that across the two settings, the point prevalence of malnutrition was higher than the national rates. The possible factors that are related to malnutrition in this study include: (a) mothers introducing mixed feeding in the first six months, (b) maternal HIV infection, (c) deprivations related to the living conditions to which a child is exposed and to the social and economic opportunities of care-takers, (d) higher levels of gestational malnutrition and, (e) lack of adequate parental care due to engagement in income generating activities.Overall, the findings have important implications for research policy and programme efforts towards improved growth monitoring and designing of interventions to mitigate malnutrition and its determinants.
- Medicine