Malnutrition in Children

In 1994 Kevin Carter, a journalist posed a photo in his mail “Pulitzer prize” wining photo taken in Southern Sudan. The picture depicts of famine stricken child crawling towards a United Nation food camp located a kilometer away, the vulture is waiting for the child to die so that it can eat it. This picture shocked the whole world. No one knows what happened to the child including the photographer Kevin Carter who left the place as soon as the photograph was taken. Three months later he committed suicide due to depression.

With this example, poverty is a major world problem. People or families of low income household food it is not enough. Children especially under five year old are the most vulnerable to malnutrition because of their high demand of energy and protein. Malnutrition still remains at alarming rate in the childhood in Mathare slums despite the fact that free food and free medical services are offered and this is the reason why the researcher is much concerned with the need to investigate the causes and impact of this condition in children under five years in this area i. . Mathare slums. The researcher at the f this study will aim at making a way forward to the policy makers on how services delivery will be improved and how these malnourished children be handled and rehabilitated. 1. 2 Statement of the problem Causes and impact of malnutrition in under five year old children continues to be the major health problem in the world and in the nation (Kenya) particularly in Mathare slums and other similar areas which is majorly composed of low income earners depicting poverty.

The government of Kenya (GOK), in concurrence with other non governmental organizations (NGOs) has donated food, taught people on how to achieve a balanced diet regardless of the low income, and improved nutrition education through antenatal clinics to ensure that children are well nourished. Despite tall these efforts, a survey through Mathare slums and its neighborhood reveals a high number of cases of malnutrition. It is therefore, with this in mind that the study seeks to find out the causes of malnutrition so that the health of children can be restored. 1. Purpose of the study and objectives of the study The main purpose of the study is to find out the causes of malnutrition of children under five years old in Mathare slums. 1. 3. 1 Objectives of the study i. To find out the socio- economic status of the parents of malnourished children ii. To find out how knowledgeable the parents are about nutrition status of their children. iii. To investigate the sources of information for the parents of malnourished children iv. To identify the steps taken by the parents to curb malnutrition in Mathare slums 1. 4 Significance of the study

Many health centers do not diagnose or detect the type of malnutrition from moderate malnourish and severe malnourish. This study will there fore investigate the causes and impact and the commonest type of malnutrition affecting under five year old children in Mathare slums. The results from this study will be used to benefit the health workers and the parents of children below five years old in Mathare slums in the following ways: i. Helps the mothers or parents of these children gain positive insight, that is such condition need immediate medical advice to be solved should it occur because of its short and long terms impacts ii.

Helps the health workers and the community to actively respond and attend to the rising condition in below five year old children and young affected. iii. To provide a platform for the public to understand that early treatment or management of this condition will minimize the complication. iv. Helps the researcher establish the uniqueness of this condition in the way it presents, how it is managed and how the patients should be rehabilitated in case of severe complications of malnutrition set in. 1. 5 Scope and delimitation

There are several causes of malnutrition but the research will only concentrate on the socio economic factors, knowledge of parents on nutrition, the sources of information and the methods employed by the parents to curb malnutrition. The research will also be confined to children below five years old and their parents especially mothers who will be found in Mathare slums health center. The study could have been extended to below 12 years old as they are medically classified as pediatrics (children) but the researcher’s concern will be on children under five years old because they are the most vulnerable groups among the other children.

Mathare slums have other smaller communities but not all of it will be covered because the residents of Mathare leave under similar conditions. The findings can then be generalized in the whole area. 1. 6 Limitation of the study The study is likely to experience many challenges. This is due to the nature of life styles in Mathare. The area is densely populated with many cases of criminal activities. This might make it insecure for the researchers. The members will also be suspicious of the researcher who is a stranger in the area so may not volunteer information as required.

Since this is an informal settlement area is congested. This makes the movement very difficult. Sanitation is another major issue. Both solid and liquid wastes are not properly managed. Raw sewage is flowing in open drains. There are no proper latrines for proper excreta disposal, making the whole place full of stench and unsightly scenes. The community members might need money for them to give information. This might be a challenge since there is no enough money for the research. The muddy environment where the research will be carried out makes moment difficult. 1. 7 Assumption of the study i.

The information from the respondents will be assumed to be accurate and true to the best of their knowledge. ii. It will be assumed that the communities especially the mothers will be willing and allowed their children for the nutritional assessment. iii. It will be assumed that the respondents now know the causes, impact and prevention of malnutrition. iv. It will be assumed that the mothers of children under five years old will be able to detect early malnutrition. v. It will be assumed that health workers will offer maximum support to the under five years old children and their parents. 1. 8 Conceptual framework

Figure 1 * Socio economic status of parents * Knowledge of parents on nutrition Causes of malnutrition among children under five years old in Mathare slums * Cultural practices and attitudes attitude towards certain foodstuffs Malnutrition * Sources of information on nutrition * Methods employed to curb malnutrition 1. 9 Definition of terms Malnutrition: this is a state resulting from intake of nutrients. Children/child:an infant from 0-5 years old. Impact:Is the result of particular influence Mortalityis the number of death in a given period. Assessment:is the process of evaluating nutritional status of an individual.

Anorexia:it’s a state of having poor appetite. Health:is a state of complete physical, mental and social well being of a person but not merely absence of disease or infirmity. Prevalence:is the number of affected persons present in a population at a specific time. Pre-disposing:is to make susceptibility to an infection. Anthropometryis the measure of body physical dimension. Protein, energy Malnutrition:This is the condition that comprises of malnutrition that occurs due to imbalance between protein and energy. Nutritionis a study of sum process involving taking of food.

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