Caregivers' Hygiene and Sanitation Conditions Associated with Nutrition Status of Children 6-59 Months in Kiandutu Informal Settlement, Kiambu County, Kenya
MW ANGI, PERIS WANJIKU
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It is estimated that, undernutrition in all its forms accounts for 45% of all deaths of children aged less than five years and contribute to 3.1 million child deaths each year. Poor Water Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) conditions, primarily through repeated diarrhoea and intestinal nematode infections as poor WASH effects, account for 40-60% of childhood malnutrition. This study sought to describe the caregivers' hygiene and sanitation conditions associated with the nutrition status among children aged 6-59 months in Kiandutu Informal Settlement, Kiambu County. A descriptive cross-sectional study design was used with a sample size of 165 participants. Data was collected using researcher administered questionnaire for the caregivers, observation checklists, KII schedules and FGD guide. Anthropometric data for children aged 6-59 months was also collected using height board for height, salter scale for weight and MUAC tape. Data analysis was done using SPSS whereby Pearson's chi-square tests was used to test associations between caregivers' hygiene and sanitation status and children's nutritional status. The level of significance was set at P value (p<0.05). Bloom Cut off points were used to scale WASH knowledge as either high, moderate or low depending on the scores out of 100 percent. Results are presented in form of graphs and tables. The study established that there was low (88.1 %) and moderate (11.9%) knowledge on WASH among caregivers. WASH practices were poor too: only 23.9% got drinking water from piped sources, 61.6% did not treat before drinking, 71.9% did not have access to a latrine and 55% of those who washed hands used water only. The nutritional status was 33.3%, 15.1% and 8.8% for stunting, underweight and wasting respectively. WASH practices such as source of drinking water in households (X2=24.033; p=0.026; df=2) and caregivers' h~ndwashing practice (X2=44.459; p=<O.OOI; df=I) showed a significant relationship with the child's nutritional status. WASH knowledge had a significant relationship with the nutritional status (X2=3.836; p=0.036; df=l ). The study recommends that the county government and any other relevant authority should increase health communication, education and information sharing especially in household to raise the level of WASH knowledge which will in turn improve WASH practice. Further, there should be emphasis on the importance of integrating WASH components in all nutrition programs to help fight malnutrition in children.