The Determinants of Childhood Diarrhoea in Zimbabwe: Further Analysis of the 2015 Zimbabwe Demographic Health Survey
Diarrhoea is a preventable disease. The preventative measures of diarrhoea could be traced back to demographic, socio-economic, environmental and behavioural aspects of the family. Paradoxically, diarrhoea has become one of the major underlying factors to childhood morbidity and mortality globally, and specifically in developing countries. In Zimbabwe, despite the reported prevalence of diarrhoea, there is a lacuna of scholarly inquisition of the background and proximate predictors of childhood diarrhoea, a gap to be filled by this study. The study utilized secondary data from the 2015 Zimbabwe Demographic Health Survey. The target population of the study was an adjusted national sample size of 3545 under five children whose mother/women caregivers however responded on their behalf. Data was analysed used the univariate, bivariate and multivariate methods. The study established a significant association between diarrhoea and mother’s age (OR = 0.34 [99.9% CI: 0.205 – 0.561]), child’s age (OR = 5.4 [99.9% CI: 3.19-8.96]) , region Mashonaland East (OR = 0.64 [95% CI: 0.417 – 0.0.976]): Mashonaland West (OR = 1.5 [90% CI: 0.97 – 2.32]) and a shared toilet facility (OR = 1.47 [99.9% CI: 1.153 –1.871]). The study recommends the identification of diarrhoea as a significant contributor to childhood morbidity and mortality by the government, relevant stakeholders and implementation partners. Such recognition would lead to the designing and implementation of disease control strategies that reduce unhygienic practices in risk groups and provinces, educate communities on the benefits of diarrhoea awareness and girl child empowerment so as to reduce the mean age at first sex and marriage. Failure to do so, would mean that the healthcare strategies adopted in Zimbabwe since 1980 aimed at improving health and child health in particular, will remain a pipe-dream.
Key words: childhood diarrhoea, mortality, morbidity, predictors, 2015 Zimbabwe Demographic Health Survey,