Morbidity of diarrheal disease among children aged under five years living in internally displaced population camps of Hodan District, Mogadishu-Somalia
Warsame, Hawa Ali
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The last two decades of armed conflicts, lack of functioning government, economic collapse, and disintegration of the health system and other public services - together with recurrent droughts and famines, have turned Somalia into one of the world’s most difficult environments for survival. The under-five mortality in Somalia is estimated at 200 deaths per 1,000 live births, which is one of the highest in the world. Diarrhea is the main killer; contributing to 20-25 per cent of all under-five mortality. The main objective of this study was to assess the morbidity of diarrhea among under-five children living in Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) of Hodan district which has the highest IDP settlement in Mogadishu with conditions that are conducive to occurrence of diarrheal disease in the district. The study used descriptive cross-sectional survey design and multistage sampling technique to select 236 children. Researcher administered structured questionnaires were used to collect data using face-to-face interviews with mothers/care givers of the children during a one-time visit to the households. Data was analyzed using the Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) version 21 software. Descriptive and inferential statistical findings were presented in form of text, tables, graphs and charts. Chi-square was used to show the relationship between variables. Fourth eight percent of households reported having children who suffered from diarrhea in the past 2 weeks preceding the study. Diarrhea was also the most common disease reported by mothers/care givers among under-five children in the camps, affecting 107(45.3%) of the children. Diarrheal disease occurrence was highest (74.3%) among children of mothers who did not attend school (p=0.001), children living in households provided water by Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) (p=0.025) and among children whose main source of water was public tap diarrhea (71.3%; p =0.001). Most parents in the camp delayed taking their ill children to hospital opting to first use traditional medicines resulting in many cases of admissions at the health facilities. From the study findings it can be concluded that diarrhea was the most prevalent disease among under-fives and is more likely to occur among children whose mothers had no education, and who lived in household whose main source of drinking water was public tap, supplied by NGOs. In addition, the study concluded that other environmental factors had no association with diarrhea occurrence. The study recommends educating mothers to reduce overall illiteracy rate of Somali women, and regular treatment of drinking water and evaluation of water quality by the Ministry of Health and Human Services. Given the high diarrhea prevalence and the fact that camp environmental conditions are conducive to its occurrence, the study also recommends promotion of improved hygiene and sanitation practices, even though these were not found to be associated with diarrhea in this particular study.