Population modifiable risk factors associated with under-5 acute respiratory tract infections and diarrhoea in 25 countries in sub-Saharan Africa (2014-2021): an analysis of data from demographic and health surveys

Kedir Y Ahmed, Abel F Dadi, Getiye Dejenu Kibret, Habtamu Mellie Bizuayehu, Tahir A Hassen, Erkihun Amsalu, Daniel Bekele Ketema, Zemenu Yohannes Kassa, Meless G Bore, Animut Alebel, Addisu Alehegn Alemu, Jemal E Shifa, Cheru Tesema Leshargie, Subash Thapa, Syed Haris Omar, Allen G Ross

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Abstract

BACKGROUND: Identifying the critical modifiable risk factors for acute respiratory tract infections (ARIs) and diarrhoea is crucial to reduce the burden of disease and mortality among children under 5 years of age in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) and ultimately achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). We investigated the modifiable risk factors of ARI and diarrhoea among children under five using nationally representative surveys.METHODS: We used the most recent demographic and health survey (DHS) data (2014-2021) from 25 SSA countries, encompassing a total of 253,167 children. Countries were selected based on the availability of recent datasets (e.g., DHS-VII or DHS-VIII) that represent the current socioeconomic situations. Generalised linear latent mixed models were used to compute odds ratios (ORs). Population attributable fractions (PAFs) were calculated using adjusted ORs and prevalence estimates for key modifiable risk factors among ARI and diarrhoeal cases.FINDINGS: This study involved 253,167 children, with a mean age of 28.7 (±17.3) months, and 50.5% were male. The highest PAFs for ARI were attributed to unclean cooking fuel (PAF = 15.7%; 95% CI: 8.1, 23.1), poor maternal education (PAF = 13.4%; 95% CI: 8.7, 18.5), delayed initiation of breastfeeding (PAF = 12.4%; 95% CI: 9.0, 15.3), and poor toilets (PAF = 8.5%; 95% CI: 4.7, 11.9). These four modifiable risk factors contributed to 41.5% (95% CI: 27.2, 52.9) of ARI cases in SSA. The largest PAFs of diarrhoea were observed for unclean cooking fuel (PAF = 17.3%; 95% CI: 13.5, 22.3), delayed initiation of breastfeeding (PAF = 9.2%; 95% CI: 7.5, 10.5), household poverty (PAF = 7.0%; 95% CI: 5.0, 9.1) and poor maternal education (PAF = 5.6%; 95% CI: 2.9, 8.8). These four modifiable risk factors contributed to 34.0% (95% CI: 26.2, 42.3) of cases of diarrhoea in SSA.INTERPRETATION: This cross-sectional study identified four modifiable risk factors for ARI and diarrhoea that should be a priority for policymakers in SSA. Enhancing home-based care and leveraging female community health workers is crucial for accelerating the reduction in under-5 mortality linked to ARI and diarrhoea in SSA.FUNDING: None.
Original languageEnglish
Article number102444
JournaleClinicalMedicine
Volume68
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2024

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