A community-based study of childhood morbidity in Tigray, Northern Ethiopia
Background: The study was conducted in preparation for the early implementation of the integrated management of childhood illnesses.
Methods: Caretakers of a cohort of 1034 under-five children in two districts of Eastern Tigray, Northern Ethiopia, were interviewed weekly in their homes for a one-year period for symptoms of disease. Possible risk factors for disease in the home were identified during a preceding base-line survey.
Results: The overall incidence of perceived illness was found to be 5.26 per child-year, that of ARI 5.53 per child-year and of diarrhea 3.05 per child-year. Recall appears to be influenced by asking caretakers for illness in general as compared to asking for specific symptoms. A lower incidence of overall illness was found in children above 2 years of age, and in those from Christian families, those living in houses with corrugated iron roofs and those from households with 2 or more children under-five. Increased incidence was associated with the use of open pit latrines compared to open air excreta disposal as there were no properly covered latrines.
Conclusions: Age, housing factors and water supply and sanitation are important determinants for disease. [Ethiop. J. Health Dev. 2001;15(3) : 165-172]