Factors affecting utilization of integrated management of acute malnutrition services for children under five years in Embakasi Nairobi, Kenya
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Malnutrition, also defined as bad nutrition, is a serious public-health problem that has been linked to a substantial increase in the risk of mortality and morbidity among the affected populations. A large proportion of malnourished children are not enrolled in the treatment program as expected. The objective was to examine the factors that determine use of the Integrated Management of Acute Malnutrition services for children less than five years by caregivers within Embakasi Sub County- Nairobi, Kenya. A descriptive cross-sectional study design was used in the study. A total of 332 respondents were selected for the study. Purposive sampling was used in the identification of the participants. Quantitative data was collected using structured questionnaires while Secondary data was obtained from the monthly data in facilities implementing the program. The program performance indicators were compared with the sphere standards for management of acute malnutrition. The data was manually checked for clarity and completeness, then coded, entered and transported to Social Package of Social Statistics software version 21. The findings were presented in form of frequency and percentages in figures, tables and mean to describe the study sample in relation to relevant variables. The package was used to summarize the key findings and interpret the information in order to arrive at the conclusions of the research. Approval to conduct the research was sought from Kenyatta University Ethical Review Committee, Graduate School and National Council of Science and Technology. The study was limited by how well the participants in the study represent the population. Also, the study findings were limited by the honesty of the participants/ their nonbiased participation. In conclusion, the study established that majority of the respondents did not know where malnutrition treatment services were offered. Findings indicated that 41.3% had been utilizing integrated management of acute malnutrition services which was slightly higher than the proportion of the population knowledgeable on the availability of services which was 38.3%. About two thirds (75.6%) of the study participants were however aware of malnutrition. Morbidity, health seeking behavior, the level of education and knowledge on causes of malnutrition had a significant effect on the utilization of integrated management of acute malnutrition services. The study recommends the creation of awareness on the treatment of malnutrition and the availability of the services in the area so that the knowledge can be linked to practice. Proper referral networks need to be created to prevent further deterioration from malnutrition.