Risk factors associated with under-five diarrhoea in Kenya
Diarrhoeal diseases are still the major cause of morbidity and mortality among children in many developing countries, inciuding Kenya. There is a general agreement that the cause of child mortality and morbidity in developing countries is multi-factorial. This study was carried out to examine the effects of socio-economic, environmental and sociodemographic factors that were associated with childhood diarrhoea in Kenya using the KDHS 2008/09 data. A total of 5481 children under the age of five were captured in the two week period preceding the survey. Information on the households' socio-economic, environmental and behavioural characteristics was collected using structured, pre-tested questionnaire. The findings of this study showed that the overall two-week period incidence of diarrhoea in under-fives was 17.1 percent. Significant variation was observed in incidences of diarrhoea between children in households with an improved toilet facility and those with non-improved toilet facility and in children whose mothers were below eighteen years and those beyond 35 years. Children in the age group 12 - 23 and those living in households with more than five members were highly affected especially for western province. Children who were well nourished experienced less diarrhoea incidences than those who were malnourished. A logistic regression analysis showed that children living in households with an improved toilet facility had 1.3 times higher odds of having diarrhoea than those living in households with a non-improved toilet facility. The odds of having diarrhoea in children who lived in households where there were six or more members was 1.3 times higher than the odds in children who lived in households where five or less people. Also, children living in Western province had two times higher odds of having diarrhoea than those in Nairobi province. Children who were malnourished had more than one and a half times higher odds of having diarrhoea than those who were well nourished. From the study it is concluded that the incidence of diarrhoea in under-five children is very high, especially in children who reside in western province and who are younger than two years of age. Crowding, nutrition and poor environmental conditions are associated with the occurrence of diarrhoea in children. Even though these problems may be alleviated by sustainable socio-economic development through integrated effort of different sectors in the long run, recommendations are forwarded considering short-term solutions.