Taffa, Negussie, Chepngeno, Gloria and Amuyunzu-Nyamongo, Mary
Child morbidity and healthcare utilization in the slums of Nairobi, Kenya
Journal of Tropical Pediatrics, 51, (5), . (doi:10.1093/tropej/fmi012).
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Rapid urbanization and inequitable distribution of social services in African cities significantly contribute to the current deterioration of child health indicators in the region. Determinants of child morbidity and healthcare utilization among slum residents in Nairobi City, Kenya were assessed. Using a morbidity surveillance system, we visited 1691 households every 90?days for 9?months and registered 696 children below 5?years. 264 (37.9 per cent) children were reported to have been sick or injured at least once during the study period. A total of 447 illness episodes were reported among the 264 children (an average of 1.7 episodes per child). Cough, fever, diarrhea, skin problems and eye diseases made up the top five causes of morbidity. Child age below 1 year (OR = 2.7; 95 per cent CI = 1.33, 5.49) and having a working-mother (OR = 2.0; 95 per cent CI = 1.19, 3.31) were significantly associated with child morbidity report. About half of the mothers sought proper medical care for their sick children mostly from health institutions located outside the slum. Healthcare seeking within the slum heavily relied on informal private clinics. Working mothers sought medical care more often than non-working mothers (OR = 0.29; 95 per cent CI = 0.12, 0.7) and infants got priorities compared to older sick children (OR = 0.2; 95 per cent CI = 0.05, 0.83). We conclude that maternal engagement in non-formal low-paying jobs might in the long-run have a questionable gain in child survival among slum residents
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