Mothers’/caregivers’ knowledge on aetiology, prevention and management of acute diarrhoea among children under 5 years in Engela District, Namibia

Main Article Content

M F Bauleth
H K Mitonga
L N Pinehas


Background. Childhood diarrhoea remains a public health problem and is among the leading killers globally of children under 5 years. Even though most childhood diarrhoea episodes are mild, episodes can result in severe loss of fluids and dehydration, leading to severe health-related consequences and death. Most diarrhoea episodes in children under 5 are treated at home by parents/caregivers; therefore, their knowledge about the nutrition and management of diarrhoea in children is critically important.

Objective. To assess mothers’/caregivers’ knowledge of the aetiology, prevention and management of acute diarrhoea among children aged under 5 years with diarrhoea, in Ohangwena Region, Namibia.
Method. A cross-sectional, non-interventional study was carried out from 17 January 2019 to 9 March 2019. A structured questionnaire was administered through face-to-face interviews. T-tests and logistic regression were applied to determine the factors associated with knowledge.

Results. A total of 530 mothers/caregivers of children under 5 years responded to the study questionnaire. Of these, 29.4% were aged between 18 and 30 years, 79.8% were from rural areas, 46.4% had primary education and 16% were illiterate, 59.9% were single, 68.9% had access to information (owned a radio), and 93.2% had a low income of ~NAD200 - 2 000 per month. The majority, 64%, were categorised as having inadequate knowledge on the prevention and management of diarrhoea. In addition, significant associations were observed between knowledge and gender of mothers/caregivers, residential area, marital status, access to information and prevalence of diarrhoea (p<0.05).

Conclusion. This study identified the need to develop and intensify strategies that may improve mothers’/caregivers’ knowledge, such as health education, improved literacy and women’s empowerment for them to be able to prevent and manage diarrhoea among children under 5 years old.

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Mothers’/caregivers’ knowledge on aetiology, prevention and management of acute diarrhoea among children under 5 years in Engela District, Namibia. (2022). Southern African Journal of Public Health, 6(1), 19-28.
Original Articles

How to Cite

Mothers’/caregivers’ knowledge on aetiology, prevention and management of acute diarrhoea among children under 5 years in Engela District, Namibia. (2022). Southern African Journal of Public Health, 6(1), 19-28.


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