Health Problems of the Under-Five Children in an Urban Slum in Enugu
Objective: To determine the health problems common among under-five children in a typical urban slum in Nigeria and assess the treatment patterns commonly offered to these children.
Methods: A community-based, cross-sectional survey was conducted in May-July 2010. A cluster sampling technique was used to select 245 children from 140 households and an interviewer-administered questionnaire were used on mothers of these children.
Result: Majority of the mothers (89.2%) had primary/secondary education and 69.4% were traders. Most commonly reported symptoms among the children were fever, diarrhoe, cough and fast breathing (acute respiratory symptoms). Diarrhoeal (40%) and acute respiratory symptoms ( 37.6%) occuring singly or as a comorbidity were the most common illnesses while fever without any other appreciable symptoms was documented in 25.4% of the children. While 50.4% of the households visited only orthodox health facilities for treatment, 14.6% and 6.9% use only self-medication and traditional health practitioners respectively. As regards immunization, 22.7% of the children were not fully immunized. A total of 69 deaths mostly from febrile illness were reported from 58 households. There was a strong association between morbidity and some socio-demographic factors such as accommodation pattern and toilet facility. Childhood morbidity and mortality remains high in the slum in our environment.
Keywords: Under-five morbidity, childhood mortality, diarrhoea, Slum