Original Research Article
Year: 2017 | Month: November | Volume: 7 | Issue: 11 | Pages: 263-275
Childcare Practices, Morbidity Status and Nutrition Status of Preschool Children (24-59 Months) Living in Orphanages in Kwale County, Kenya
Moyo Burhaan Bakari, Munyaka-Ng’ang’a Ann, Chege Peter
Department of Food, Nutrition and Dietetics, Kenyatta University, P.O BOX 43844-00100, Nairobi, Kenya
Corresponding Author: Moyo Burhaan Bakari
Background: High adult mortality due to various causes like HIV and AIDS has led to an upward trend of the number of orphans and vulnerable children. Lack of adequate support for their care has forced the caretakers of these children to take them to orphanages. As a consequence, there has been mushrooming of orphanages in the country. Appropriate childcare practices have substantial consequences for growth, development and survival of infants and children. However, there is minimal information on childcare practices, morbidity status and nutrition status of preschool children living in orphanages. The study therefore sought to determine the childcare practices, morbidity status and nutrition status of preschool children living in orphanages in Kwale County, Kenya.
Method: A cross-sectional analytical study was conducted on a comprehensive sample of 162 children and 45 caregivers, drawn from a sample of 14 out of the 21 orphanages in Kwale County, Kenya.
Results: More than a third (36.4%) of the children were orphans. Majority (84.0%) of children had favourable caregiver to child ratio. About 15.4% of the children were stunted, 8.6% were underweight and 3.7% were wasted. The results also indicated that nutrition status was associated with childcare practices (chi-square test; p < 0.001), institutional characteristics (chi-square test; p < 0.001), morbidity status (chi-square test; p < 0.001) and duration of stay of the children in the orphanages (Pearson chi-square test; p < 0.001).
Conclusion: Appropriate childcare practices in the orphanages play a critical role in ensuring optimal nutrition of the preschool children.
Key words: Childcare practices, Orphanage, Institutional characteristics, Caregiver, Preschool children, Nutrition status.