Xerophthalmia at a welfare home in Jimma town

  • Negussie Zerihun



One hundred and seven children under sixteen years of age were examined between May 1994 and Octobr 1995; of whom 39 (36.5%) had evidence of clinical xerophthalmia. Twenty three (58.97%) of these xerophthalmic children were males (M:F=1.4:1). Thirty six children (92.3%) were over seven years of age. No significant association was seen between gender and xerophthalmia (p=0.94). Respiratory tract infections and diarrhoea were seen in 30.8% of xerophthalmic and 35.3% of non-xerophthalmic children, respectively, with no significant difference in morbidity pattern between the two groups (p>0.5). Seven of the xerophthalmic children were wasted while two were stunted. Chronic malnutrition (stunting) was significantly associated with xerophthalmia (p<0.05). Night blindness and bitot's spots disappeared within three weeks of initial vitamin A administration. Bitot's spots couldn't vanish completely in two children. It is recommended that the welfare home administration has to provide the children with cheap and locally available vegetables that are rich in vitamin A; and in the long run become self-sufficient by developing its own garden. [Ethiop. J. Health Dev. 1997;11(3):213-218]


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