Background: Acute malnutrition refers to someone who has lost a significant amount of weight over a short period of time, resulting in being underweight or wasting. In refugee situations where the population is often extremely dependent on the humanitarian assistance and food aid, the value of the food will greatly determine their nutritional status.
Objective: The main objective of this study was to assess the prevalence of acute malnutrition and its associated factors, among children aged 6-59 months in Mai-Aini Eritrean refugees’ camp, Northern Ethiopian in 2014.
Methods: Community based cross-sectional study was conducted on 593 mother-child pairs between January 1 and 30, 2014. Anthropometric measurements of height and weight of children were taken and questionnaire prepared in local language (Tigrigna) were used to collect the data. Data were entered using EPI-data software (version 3.2) and exported to SPSS (version 16.0) for analysis. ENA for SMART 2007 software was used to convert nutritional data into Z-scores of the indices; weight-for-height and weight-for age. Bivariate and multivariate analyses were used to identify factors associated with child malnutrition.
Results: The finding of this study revealed that 33.4% and 24.6% of children were underweight and wasted, respectively. Prevalence of acute malnutrition was higher in males compared to females. Underweight was associated with child age, consuming extra food during pregnancy and maternal BMI less than 18.5 Kg/m2. Children age and receiving pre-lactate food was independently associated with wasting.
Conclusion: The prevalence of malnutrition among children aged 6-59 months was high, indicating that the nutrition situation in study area is very critical issue. Therefore, especial attention should be given on intervention of malnutrition.