Prevalence of diarrhoea among underfives and associated factors in Mbeya district.

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University of Dar es Salaam
The main aims of the study was to determine the 2 weeks prevalence of diarrhoea among underfives in Mbeya district, the associated factors, the perceived causes and the preventive measures known by mothers/guardians in Mbeya district. This was prevalence study done in Mbeya district hence a cross-sectional descriptive study design was adopted. It was multistage random sampling. The first stage two divisions were randomly selected from a list of division in the district. Second stage two wards were selected. At the third stage four villages were randomly selected one from each ward. The list of underfive children was made and from it 485 children were selected a random. After selection we had to identify to which households the selected underfives are coming from. The two weeks prevalence of diarrhoea among underfives in Mbeya district is 34.6% a high percentage compared to national average of 14%. The factors which were found to be statistically significantly associated with diarrhoea were age and sex of the child, household size, father not living in the household, immunization status, storage of water, handwashing habits, child's place of defecation and place of garbage disposal. Other factors such as mother's age, mother's education, marital status, mother's major source of income, livestock ownership, source of water, water treatment. and type of toilet were not statistically significantly associated. It was found that 52.6% of the children's mothers/guardians in Mbeya district had medium knowledge on the causes of diarrhoea and 85.6% of the children's mothers/guardians are aware of the preventive measures of underfive diarrhoea. Recommendations: 1. We recommend to the DHMT Mbeya district to utilize the results of this study because it is recent and reflects the current real picture of diarrhoea among children who are below five years of age in the district. 2. Among the problems which were identified in this study and found to have association with underfives diarrhoea are poor personal hygiene, indiscriminate disposal of child’s faeces and household garbage. Thus the DHMT should focus on interventions, which aims at changing these practice. The first intervention is the use of different health education strategies to households and communities. Health providers in the nearest health facilities should be encouraged to conduct health education sessions to communities and their clients. Villages should be encouraged to establish by laws to make household maintain clean environment in their households and else where. 3. Storage of water was found to be a problem in the study area it is recommended that health officers should mobilize and educate people to use locally available means for storage of water to prevent contamination of water. Also there is a need to promote the household treatment of drinking water. 4. A study is needed to look for the discrepancy between the high knowledge of the causes and prevention measure with high prevalence of diarrhoea among the underfives.
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Diarrhoea, Infantile Mbeya district
Salim, R. M. (2000). Prevalence of diarrhoea among underfives and associated factors in Mbeya district. Master dissertation, University of Dar es Salaam. Available at (