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Prevalence of diarrhoea and related risk factors among children aged under 5 years in Sana’a, Yemen
Diarrhoeal disease is one of the most common problems affecting children across the world. This study assessed the prevalence of diarrhoea and related risk factors among children aged <5 years. A cross-sectional study was conducted over 8 months at Sam Specialized Paediatric Centre and Al-Mamoon Diagnostic Medical Centre, Yemen, involving 1570 children aged <5 years with diarrhoea. Detailed data regarding age, sex, diarrhoeal episodes, family size, education level of mother or female caregiver, breastfeeding and weight were collected. Of 5400 patients seen for different causes, 1570 patients were children aged <5 years presenting with diarrhoea, giving a prevalence of 29.07%. A total of 850 children were boys and 720 were girls, with ages ranging from 6 to 60 months. There were 1325 children aged <12 months, 160 aged 1–2 years and 85 aged 3–5 years. There were 700 (44.59%) children from small families and 870 (55.41%) from large families. A total of 922 (58.73%) children were malnourished and 648 (41.27%) were not. There were 1125 (71.66%) children whose mothers or female caregivers had no or low-level formal education and 445 (28.34%) whose mothers or female caregivers had secondary or high-level education. A total of 651 (41.46%) children were breastfed, 735 (46.82%) were mixed fed and 184 (11.72%) were bottle fed. The prevalence of diarrhoea in children was high; it was highest in those who were aged <12 months, from a large family, malnourished and not exclusively breastfed, and in those whose mother or female caregiver had no or low-level education. It is important to encourage family planning, a balanced diet, exclusive breastfeeding and maternal education, and to strengthen health intervention programmes, in order to reduce the incidence of diarrhoea.