AUTHOR: NKWOCHA, GODWIN NWAWUGHIKE
DEPARTMENT: PUBLIC HEALTH TECHNOLOGY
AFFILIATION: FEDERAL UNIVERSITY OF TECHNOLOGY, OWERRI
Malaria, a preventable disease, caused by a protozoan parasite, accounts for about 300-500million clinical cases and two million deaths world-wide annually. Ninety per cent of this occurs in countries south of the Sahara. It is responsible for about 25% of all childhood mortality. It is estimated that at least 50% of the population will have at least one attack of malaria in a year. It is one of largest contributor to disease burden in Nigeria. There were two million cases of malaria in 2003, resulting in five thousand deaths, 43% of which were children below five years of age. It claims more lives than dreaded HIV/AIDS.
Malaria has been associated with several risk factors, among which are socio-economic, socio-demographic and environmental factors. The purpose of this study is to determine the role of these factors in patterns of malaria morbidity in under fives. A cross-sectional study was carried out in four local governments of Abia state from April to June 2010.
The study population included 578 children who met our inclusion criteria (age 0-59months, fever, vomiting, and lethargy in past 3 months). Structured questionnaire was used in data collection. Data analysis was done using SPSS 15.0. Chi-square test of independence interpreted at the level of significance (p<0.05) was used to test the null hypothesis of no relationship between dependent and independent variables. The prevalence of malaria in our study area is 43%
The risk factors that showed statistically significant relationship are age (p<0.003), use of preventive measures against mosquitoes (p<0.001), location of residence, number of persons in a household (p<0.009), and type of toilet in use(p<0.010).Educational attainment did not show statistically significant relationship
Malaria remains endemic in Abia state and by extension in Nigeria. The study revealed that the age of the child, the environment and the use of preventive measures against mosquitoes, determine the patterns of malaria morbidity in children below five years of age.
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