Nutritional status of orphans in selected orphanages within Nairobi province, Kenya
Mwaniki, Elizabeth Wanjiru
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The nutritional surveys that have been carried out in Kenya have concentrated on children aged five years and below who are under the care of their parent(s). The HIV/AIDS pandemic has led to increased number of orphans and mushrooming of orphanages. Children living in these orphanages may also suffer from malnutrition. The main objective of this study therefore was to investigate the nutritional status of orphans aged fifteen years and below in selected orphanages within Nairobi. Convenience sampling technique was used to select the three orphanages within Dagorretti and Makadara divisions for the purpose of the study. Results of the study show that 52 % of the sample, were female and 48 % were male. Majority (60%, n=53) of the children were aged between 4 and l lyears of age. Only 40% (n=35) were aged between 12 and 15 years. Malnutrition was present among the orphans, with 8% of the children stunted, 21% underweight and 21 % wasted. Children aged 12 to 15 years had malnutrition prevalence of 43 %. Between the age of 12 and 15 years, boys were more malnourished (55%) than girls (27%). Demographic information of the caretakers showed that they were between 26 years and 53 years of age and 38 % had a minimum of primary education. Assessment of the nutritional knowledge of the caretakers showed that 59% were most knowledgeable, 38% knowledgeable and 3% not knowledgeable. The most common ailment among the sampled population were colds, flu and cough with 25% children suffering from them within the last seven days before and within the time the study was carried out. The other common disease was diarrhoea with a prevalence of 8%. The food served most of the week among four other foods served for lunch and supper was Ugali with vegetable/Meatstew (25%). The food rarely served in the week was Banana/Meatstew (2%). There was no significant difference in prevalence of malnutrition between the three orphanages that is, stunting (p=0.708), underweight (p= 0.682), wasting (p=0.646) and body mass index (p=1.000). Increase in the number of children who were not sick resulted in decreased prevalence of malnutrition among the children (r=<-0.02) in all the homes. In this study children aged 12 to 15 years had very high prevalence (43 %) of malnutrition. The older children were prone to nutritional deficiencies. The findings of this study indicated that malnutrition was prevalent among HIV/AIDS orphans and therefore appropriate strategies should be applied or formulated to alleviate the sufferings of this disadvantaged group.
- MST-Zoological Sciences