Factors associated with prevalence of anemia among children under five years: evidence from western Uganda
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The overall objective of this study was to assess the factors associated with the prevalence of anemia among children less than 5 years in Western Region of Uganda. It specifically found out how demographic, social and economic factors influence prevalence of anemia in Western Part of Uganda. The study findings also indicated that 28.6% of the respondents were aged 15 months and below, 25.2% were aged 16 – 29 months and 23.9% were aged 44 – 59 months. Age of a child influenced prevalence of anemia in children under 5 years and a unit increase in age was associated with 1.009 times increase in chances of being anemic in Western Uganda (p-value<0.05). Majority (65.7%) of the mothers had acquired primary education, followed by 16.7% who had acquired secondary education and only 3.9% had acquired higher level of education. Results from the analysis indicated that education of a mother were significantly associated with anemia status of children (p-value = 0.018) with children whose mothers has secondary education being 0.500 times less likely to be anemic as compared to those whose mothers had no education at all in Western Uganda. Findings also indicated that 65.5% of children were sleeping under mosquito nets both treated and untreated and only 34.5 were not sleeping under mosquito nets. Bivariate analysis using chi-square test of association indicated that mosquito net use status of a child has a significant influence on anemia prevalence in children under 5 years (p-value = 0.000) with children sleeping under nets less likely to be anemic as compared to their counterparts and children who slept under mosquito nets were 0.7158 less likely to be anemic in Western Uganda. Study findings indicated that 35.7% of the respondents were from poor class of families followed by 33.9% of them that were from rich class of families and only 30.5% were from middle class families in terms of wealth index. Study findings also indicated that wealth index of the family of a child has a significant influence on anemia prevalence in children under 5 years (p-value < 0.05) with children from middle class families were 0.6929 less likely to be anemic as compared to children from poor class families. The study concluded that age of the child, mother’s education, sleeping under mosquito net, anemia status of a mother, wealth index and type of toilet facility significantly influenced a child’s anemia status whereas sex, residence type, age of the child did not. The study recommended that emphasis should be put in teaching women with low levels of education on the causes of anemia in children and how it can be avoided.