Acute Medical conditions in under five year old children at a Public Hospital in Kenya

  • D Makworo
  • AMR Laving


Objective: To determine the prevalence of childhood preventable and treatable medical conditions and the parent’s/guardian’s knowledge about the conditions and their management. Design: A descriptive cross-sectional study. Setting: Paediatric medical wards at Kenyatta National hospital Subjects: All children aged 0-60 months with preventable conditions (that included pneumonia, malaria, diarrhoea/dehydration, meningitis and malnutrition) in paediatric wards who had stayed in the ward for 24 to 48 hours. Results: Two hundred and fifty six parents/guardians staying with their children were recruited into the study. The vast majority (85.5%) of the children were aged less than two years. The prevalence of the acute treatable and preventable medical conditions was 88.6% over a one month period. The leading cause of admission for most children was pneumonia (31.6%) followed by malnutrition (16.8%) and gastro-enteritis (16%). Other conditions included neonatal sepsis (9.1%), measles (6%) and malaria (4.8%). The parents’/guardians’ mean and median age was 26 years and the majority (89.8%) were mothers. A great proportion (46.5%) of the parents/guardians had attained at least some primary education. More than 70% of the parents/guardians were found to lack knowledge about their children’s health problems and the drugs they were using. This was regardless of the parent’s/guardians level of education and the frequency of admission of the child. Conclusion: Acute preventable and treatable medical conditions at KNH are highly prevalent, and the leading conditions include pneumonia, malnutrition and gastroenteritis. Most parents/guardians did not understand their children’s health problems regardless of their level of education.

East African Medical Journal Vol. 87 No. 8 August 2010

Author Biographies

D Makworo
Department of Nursing Sciences, Kenyatta University
AMR Laving
Lecturer, Department of Paediatrics and Child Health, College of Health Science, University of Nairobi, P. O. Box 14970-00800, Nairobi, Kenya

Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 0012-835X