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Factors Associated with Acute Malnutrition among South Sudanese Children in Tierkidi Refugee Camp: A Case-Control Study

Background: Malnutrition among refugee children is a critical public health concern due to the intensified vulnerability of this age group. Malnutrition is not only a condition that kills, but also has negative consequences in the long term for their overall health and developmental potential among survivors after an appropriate treatment. This exhibits that it is of paramount importance to capitalize not only in the treatment of acute malnutrition but also in its prevention. To prevent malnutrition and its consequences successfully, evidence on risk factors in refugee setting is crucial. However, little information is known about the determinant of acute malnutrition in refuge setting. Hence, this study aimed to identify the determinants of acute malnutrition among under five Children in Tierkidi South Sudanese Refugee Camp, Western Ethiopia.

Methods: A case-control study was conducted from February 28 to march 30, 2015 in Tierkidi refugee camp Western Ethiopia. Cases were wasted children under the age of five years while the controls were children free of wasting and neighbor of the cases. A total of 94 cases and 187 controls were studied. Data were collected by face to face interview. Descriptive, bivariate and multivariable analyses were done to compute summary statistics and identify determinants of acute malnutrition using SPSS version 20.0 software.

Results: Acute malnutrition was associated with diarrheal disease (AOR=3.77; 95% CI: 1.55, 9.17), non-exclusive breast feeding (AOR=3.70, 95% CI 1.64, 8.33), short birth interval (AOR=6.70; 95% CI: 2.89, 15.54), age group of 6-11 months (AOR=9.81; 95% CI: 2.69, 35.75), and prompt health seeking for sick child (AOR=5.89; 95% CI: 2.49, 13.94).

Conclusion: Short birth interval, younger child age, and inappropriate infant and young child caring practices were determinants of acute malnutrition in Tierkidi refugee camp. To reduce childhood malnutrition due emphasis should be given in improving the practice of parents on appropriate infant and young child caring practices and child birth spacing.

Author(s): Yenealem Gezahegn, Wondwosen Kassahun, Lamessa Dube

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