Programmatic implications of some vitamin A supplementation and deworming determinants among children aged 6-59 months in resource-poor rural Kenya
Introduction: controlling vitamin A deficiency and soil-transmitted helminth infections are public health imperatives. We aimed at revealing some caregiver and child-related determinants of uptake of vitamin A supplementation and deworming, and examine their programmatic implications in Kenyan context.
Methods: a cross-sectional study of randomly selected 1,177 households with infants and young children aged 6-59 months in three of the 47 counties of Kenya. The number of times a child was given vitamin A supplements and dewormed 6 months and one year preceding the study was extracted from mother-child health books.
Results: coverage for age-specific deworming was considerably depressed compared to corresponding vitamin A supplementation and for both services, twice-yearly provisions were disproportionately lower than half-yearly. Univariate and multivariate analyses showed relatively younger children, of Islam-affiliated caregivers (vis a vis Christians) and those who took less time to nearest health facilities as more likely to be supplemented with vitamin A. Similar observations were made for deworming where additionally, maternal and child ages were also determinants in favour of older groups. Other studied factors were not significant determinants. Programmatic allusions of the determining factors were discussed.
Conclusion: key to improving uptake of vitamin A supplementation and deworming among Kenyan 6-59 months olds are: increasing access to functional health facilities, expanding outreaches and campaigns, dispelling faith-related misconceptions and probably modulating caregiver and child age effects by complementing nutrition literacy with robust and innovative caregiver reminders. Given analogous service points and scheduling, relative lower uptake of deworming warrants further investigations.