NUTRITIONAL STATUS OF CHILDREN IN FOOD INSECURE HOUSEHOLDS IN TWO DISTRICTS OF NORTH SHOWA ZONE, ETHIOPIA|
Aweke, KA; Habtamu, F & Akalu, G
Malnutrition is one of the leading causes of morbidity and mortality of children in Ethiopia. However, little information is available on nutritional status of the lower socioeconomic segment of the community to devise targeted tackling solutions and overcome severe malnutrition. Therefore, the objective of this study is to assess nutritional status of children and other related information in food insecure households. Two hundred food insecure households (HHs) were selected from two districts of North Showa zone of Amhara in 2007. The criteria for inclusion were being landless, oxen-less, and/ or female headed. Anthropometric and clinical data were collected from a total of 239 (151 < 5yrs and 88, 6-12yrs) children. Data on demographic, childcare, feeding practices and morbidity status of children were collected using an interview, community focus group discussion and secondary data from district offices. The overall prevalence of stunting, underweight and wasting was 54.2%, 40.2% and 10.6 %, respectively. Prevalence of night blindness and Bitot's spot were 3.1% and 3.5%, respectively. The median level of urinary iodine excretion by 6-12 years children was 1.5μg/L. Seventeen percent of the children were found iron deficient. Exclusive breastfeeding up to 6 month was practiced by less than 20% of the households. About fifty six percent of the households have cropland less than half a hectare and 50.8% of the households are getting water from unprotected well or spring. The main type of toilet facility being used was open bush/field (84.5%). The main income of the households was agriculture. The majority (45-50%) of the household heads in both districts are in the age ranges of 20-30 years. Fifty percent of the household heads can read and write. Lack of enough arable land, unreliable rain fall, extension of desertification, lack of scientific agricultural knowledge, absence of irrigation schemes, and shortage of skill in land use and management are some of the problems reported to contribute to food insecurity. The households are under severe malnutrition, food insecurity and poor childcare. Therefore, improvement of household resources by initiation of income generating livelihood options and knowledge based agriculture is needed.
malnutrition, food insecurity, North Showa