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Diarrhea and associated factors among under five children in sub-Saharan Africa: Evidence from demographic and health surveys of 34 sub-Saharan countries.

INTRODUCTION: Diarrhea is responsible for the death of more than 90% of under-five children in low and lower-middle income countries. Regionally, South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa accounted for 88% of deaths with the same age group. Therefore, the aim of this study was to determine the prevalence and associated factors of diarrhea among children under-five years in sub-Saharan Africa.

METHODS: The appended, most recent demographic and health survey datasets of 34 sub-Saharan African countries were used to determine the prevalence and associated factors of diarrhea among under-five children in the region. A total weighted sample of 330,866 under-five children were included in the study. Both bivariable and multivariable multilevel logistic regression were done to determine the associated factors of diarrhea among under five children in sub-Saharan Africa. The Odds Ratio (OR) with a 95% Confidence Interval (CI) was calculated for those potential factors included in the final model.

RESULT: The overall prevalence of diarrhea in this study was 15.3% (95% CI: 15.1-15.4). Those children of mothers aged 15-24 (AOR = 1.26; 95% CI: 1.23, 1.30) and 25-34 years (AOR = 1.15; 95%CI: 1.12, 1.18), those children of mothers with no education (AOR = 1.69; 95%CI: 1.57-1.82), primary education (AOR = 1.73; 95%CI: 1.61-1.86) and secondary education (AOR = 1.49; 95%CI: 1.38-1.59) had higher odds of having diarrhea. Those children from poorest (AOR = 1.14; 95%CI: 1.10, 1.19), poorer (AOR = 1.12; 95%CI: 1.08-1.17), middle (AOR = 1.06; 95%CI: 1.02, 1.10), and richer (AOR = 1.14; 95%CI: 1.04-1.12) households had higher chance of having diarrhea compared to their counterparts.

CONCLUSION: This study found that the prevalence of childhood diarrhea morbidity in sub-Saharan Africa was high. Maternal age, wealth index, maternal education, maternal occupation, age of child, time of initiation of breast feeding and time to get water source were significantly associated with diarrhea. Therefore, intervention through health education and health promotion for mothers/caretakers who are poor, less educated, and young should be designed to prevent diarrhea in the region.

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