Household Food Security, Morbidity and Nutrition Status of Adult Females with Tungiasis in Murang’a County, Kenya
Wambui, Kimondo Elizabeth
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Tungiasis is a parasitic infection caused by the female sand flea scientifically known as the T. penetrans. Commonly known as the jigger infection, the manifestation begins with a hypertrophy when the parasites burrow into the skin of the foot. The infection is highly documented in under-developed settlements such as rural areas and peri-urban locations. The basic symptoms of infestation include itching, a sensation of a foreign substance in the skin, pain, lesions, and the presence of white-brown colorations left behind when the penetrans are extracted. This leaves open wounds and lesions that are prone to infections causing immobility which affects the ability to engage in activities that promote food security and nutrition in the household. There is inadequate empirical research and clinical data to address the condition, this study therefore, was seeking to examine the household food security, morbidity and nutrition status of adult females living with Tungiasis in Murang’a County, Kenya. A cross-sectional analytical study design was applied to determine the association between household food security, nutrition status and tungiasis. Murang’a County, Kiharu Constituency (Gathukiini, Mirira and Mirichu) was the study area targeted purposively due to reported high prevalence of people with Tungiasis compared to other areas in the county. The sample size was 268 adult females infested with tungiasis sampled through simple random sampling. Data collection tools were a structured Questionnaire, Focused Group Discussions and Key Informants Interviews. Household food security data was collected using a food frequency table and individual food security measured by a 24-hour recall. Anthropometric measures taken were weight, height and MUAC for adult pregnant and lactating mothers between 0-6 months of lactation. The data was entered and analyzed using Statistical Package for Social Sciences version 20.0 (SPSS). Descriptive statistics (frequencies, percentages, means and standard deviation) were used to describe the study population. Inferential statistics, Chi-square test, Pearson, regression analysis, Analysis of variance (ANOVA) to analyse variation of different variables, odds ratio was used to test for association between measured variables. A P value of p< 0.05 used as the criteria for statistical significance. Data was presented in tables. Results; most respondents, 29.1% were between the ages of 40-50 years, 77.6% were casual laborers, 75% earning <10,000ksh a month. A 49.6% resided in temporary houses and 88.8% of the houses had earthen floors. Among the respondents, 35.4% of the households had 6 members, 43% reported unavailability of their water source throughout the year, with 35.8% washing their feet only twice a week. A 34.3% were food insecure with 51.1% having reported lack of food in the last one month, 54.5% reported all their household members were infested with tungiasis. Underweight was at 23.1%. The research concluded that, food security was poor, the relationship between food security, morbidity and nutrition status was significant (p=<0.05). Recommendations; recognition of infested persons as a vulnerable population, community sensitization on tungiasis with intensified local organizations, the religious groups and well-wishers in supporting household infested with foodstuff, foot wear, hygiene products, pesticides/fumigation services and improved housing conditions.