Assessment of Malnutrition in Children Under Five Years in Rwamagana District Hospital

Topics: Nutrition, Malnutrition, Obesity Pages: 6 (2060 words) Published: March 6, 2013
Nutrition is a key sector for a country’s sustainable development. It contributes to achieving the Millennium Development Goals, to which Rwanda has committed itself as a member of the international community. Malnutrition in an individual or at the community level impacts negatively on the well-being of the individual as well as on the community’s development. Following the events of the 1990s, the nutritional situation of the population, in particular that of children under the age of five has worsened significantly. Nevertheless, the nutrition situation remains precarious as the national prevalence of protein-energy malnutrition and micronutrient deficiencies remain high contributing directly or indirectly to the high infant, child and maternal mortality in the country (MOH, 2005). Malnutrition is the state of being poorly nourished. It is not merely a result of too little food, but of a combination of factors: insufficient protein, energy and micronutrients, frequent infections or disease, poor care and feeding practices, inadequate health services and unsafe water and sanitation. Malnutrition robs children of vital micronutrients that are essential to their growth and development, and makes them more susceptible to disease. Where it does not kill, malnutrition can leave permanent scars. It can leave a child physically and intellectually damaged and suffering from the consequences of a weakened immune system. The most devastating impact of malnutrition is in the womb-when the foetus can fail to develop properly-and during the first years of a child’s life, when it can hamper his or her physical and mental development. Worldwide, 55 million children under the age of five suffer from acute malnutrition and 19 million of these from the most serious type – severe acute malnutrition. Every year, 3.5 million children die of malnutrition-related causes. Severe malnutrition is primarily a problem in developing countries. Severely malnourished children typically are brought to medical attention when a health crisis, such as an infection, precipitates the transition between marasmus (a state of nutritional adaptation) and kwashiorkor, in which adaptation is no longer adequate (Ashworth A. 2001). Data from around the world show that the causes underlying most nutrition problems have not changed very much over the past 50 years. Poverty, ignorance and disease, coupled with inadequate food supplies, unhealthy environments, social stress and discrimination, still persist unchanged as a web of interacting factors which combine to create conditions in which malnutrition flourishes 1.1BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY

Malnutrition prevents children from reaching their full physical and mental potential. Health and physical consequences of prolonged states of malnourishment among children are: delay in their physical growth and motor development; lower intellectual quotient (IQ), greater behavioural problems and deficient social skills; susceptibility to contracting diseases (FAO. 2010 and Black R, Morris S, Jennifer B. 2003). Furthermore, child malnutrition is associated with approximately 60 percent of under-five mortality in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) countries (UNICEF. 1998). 1.2PROBLEM STATEMENT

The majority of studies on child nutritional status have described prevalence of malnutrition among under-five children and analyzed socioeconomic, demographic and cultural factors associated with child malnutrition in SSA [4-7]. However, little is known about the links between child's nutritional status and distal determinants including geographic location and the environment due to restricted methodologies. 1.3AIMS OF THE STUDY

This study aims to assess the underlying causes and the impact of malnutrition in under five years old children in Rwamagana district hospital. 1.4OBJECTIVES OF STUDY
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