Factors associated with nutritional status of children in Kitui and Mwingi districts during drought
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A study was, carried out in two districts of Kitui and Mwingi affected by drought in 1997. The main objective of the study was to determine the nutritional status of children aged 6 - 59 months and factors affecting it. Using a structured and previously pilot tested questionnaire, information was collected on: parental education level, extent of food availability, child nutritional status, morbidity patterns and coping strategies In a cross-sectional survey of 491 and 485 households in Kitui and Mwingi districts respectively. Results showed that the nutritional status of the children was relatively poor in both districts, with Kitui district having chronic malnutrition at 49.0%, underweight at 39% and acute wasting at 7.8%, while Mwingi district had, chronic malnutrition at 49.7%, underweight at 36.6% and wasting at 8.1%. The factors that contributed were inadequate dietary intake, high morbidity patterns, poor availability of food and water and low parental education level. The coping strategies during drought were not well developed, making the situation worse. The study concluded that the nutritional status of the underfives during drought is adversely affected by extent of food and water availability and inadequate coping strategies.