In April 2011, a survey was conducted by the Community Health Workers (CHWs) of the Orphans and Vulnerable Children's (OVC) Project in Africa to determine the health and well being of the children under 5 years of age in the squatter settlement of Kanaani in Athi River County, Kenya. The results of the survey are as follows.
The total number of children under 5 years of age was 80. Out of this number, 36 (45%) were males and 44 (55%) were females.
70% of the survey respondents were mothers, 14% were fathers and the remaining 13% were grandparents, other relatives or non-relatives.
When asked about the general health of the child, respondents indicated that 50% were in good health, 40% were in average health and 10% were in poor health. Even so, 58% of the children had been ill during the past two weeks and care was sought for 70% of them.
Over 50% of the households had bednets which are essential for the prevention of Malaria and 55% of the children in the households with bed nets sleep under them.
Hand washing with soap before eating, which is the major method for interrupting the transmission of bacteria causing diseases such as diarrhea, respiratory infections, and trachoma, was practiced by 69% of the children over 2 years of age.
Each child is issued a government Health Card at birth which records the immunization status and records their weight for age for the first five years. Immunizations prevent the spread of disease such as diphtheria, mumps, measles, tetanus, etc., which are important causes of under 5 mortality. Weight for age indicates if the child is normal, under or overweight. Malnutrition is one of the leading causes of deaths in children under 5 in sub-Saharan Africa.
Respondents reported that 61 (76%) children had health cards, but only 37 (46%) had the cards available. Therefore, it was not possible for the interviewers to determine if their immunizations were up to date nor if they were of normal weight.
The results of the survey provide an informative data base for planning action concerning the health, well being and problems of the children under 5 in Kanaani.
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