Why the Prevalence of Chronic Malnutrition Remained Persistently High in Children 6-59 Months of Age in a Region Known to be Highly Food Productive in Uganda: A Cross-Sectional Descriptive Study of Mothers and Their Children
Masereka, Enos Mirembe
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Introduction:Despite being referred to as one of the country’s food baskets, 41% of children 6-59 months of age in the Rwenzori sub-region, western Uganda are stunted. Stunting is a form of chronic malnutrition in which children are short for their age. In this study, we estab-lished the prevalence and determinants of stunting in one of the sub-counties in this region. Methods: This was a cross-sectional descriptive study conducted in Nombe sub-county in Rwenzori sub-region, Western Uganda from May 26th to June 26th, 2018. A total of 372 mothers and their children were recruited using simple random sampling. Data was col-lected using a questionnaire. Stunting was determined by taking a child’s height or length and comparing it with the child’s age. A child whose height or length for age index was less than -2 Standard Deviations (SD) was considered stunted. We used descriptive statistics to understand the characteristics of mothers and multivariable logistic regression models to obtain determinants of stunting. Data were analyzed using SPSS version 20.Results: A total of 372 mothers and their children were included in this study, majority 307 (83.0%) were 6-24 months old and nearly half, 167 (44.9%) were stunted. We found that reserving food stock for use in the dry season (aOR= 0.23, CI= 0.08-0.62, p= 0.004), de-worming children (aOR = 0.32, CI= 0.18-0.54, p = 0.001) and family earning at least 10,000 Ushs (2.7USD) at the end of the month (aOR = 0.36, CI= 0.22- 0.58, P=0.001) were associated with no stunting. Conclusion: We found a high prevalence of stunting among children 6-59 months of age. We recommend enforcing ownership of food granary by households especially during the dry season, support to de-worming programs targeting children below five years of age, and establishing community-based income-generating livelihood projects.