Prevalence and Associated Factors of Malaria among Febrile Children in Afar Region, Ethiopia: A Health Facility Based Study
BACKGROUND: Malaria is a major public health problem in Sub- Saharan Africa including Ethiopia and it affects children under five and pregnant mothers. Theprevalence of malaria is not well studied though the burden is expected to be high in low lands of Afar region.Therefore,this study attempts to assess the prevalence and associated factors of malaria among under five children in the pastoral community.
METHODS: Cross-sectional study design was employed from April 15th to 15th May 2018 on a sample of 484 under-five children who visited the randomly selected health facilities of Dubti district, Afar region.The study participants were recruited randomly with the basic assumption that their arrival at health facilities is random. The main outcome variable was parasitological confirmed malaria among under five children and it was measured using either microscopy blood film examination. Binary logistic regression model was done to measure the association between confirmed malaria infection and its predictors. Independent variables with p-value less than 0.25 in the bivariate analysis were entered into multivariable logistic regression analysis model. Statistical significance level was declared at p-value less than 0.05.
RESULTS: The prevalence of malaria among febrile under-five children was 64% (95% CI 59.5%-68.4%). Of these,more than half (66.5%) and one-fifth (22. 2%) of the cases were caused by p.falciparum and p.vivax respectively. The multivariable logistic regression analysis showed thatliving in rural residence [AOR=1.77: 95% CI 1.10-2.85], having educated mother [AOR=0.406: 95% CI 0.26-0.63], age of child ([AOR=2.98: 95% CI 1.41-6.32], sex of child [AOR=1.99: 95% CI 1.29-3.08], not sleep under ITN [AOR=9.10: 95% CI 1.01- 82.58], ITN availability [AOR=2.23: 95% CI 1.01- 4.89] and history of malaria infection among family members [AOR=9.10: 95% CI 1.01-82.58] were the independent predictors of malaria infection among under five children.
CONCLUSION: The overall prevalence of malaria among under-five children was high compared to the national prevalence of malaria among the general population. Health care providers (HCPs) should educate parents/guardians regarding proper utilization of ITN at night. In addiotion, they should provide early treatment for febrile family members to halt the transmission of malaria. The regional government should give due attention to supply of ITN and enhance the awareness of the community. Additional longitudinal studies are recommended.