Background: Malnutrition is of major public health concern worldwide. The prevalence of severe acute malnutrition/wasting is increasing nationally and globally. The aim of this study is to determine the prevalence of Severe Acute Malnutrition (SAM) at Dalhatu Araf Specialist Hospital, Lafia Nasarawa State.
Methods: This was a cross-sectional prospective study. All children admitted between the months of June to October 2016 had their anthropometry taken. All children 6 months to 60 months with SAM based on the WHZ score were identified and a pre-designed proforma was administered to obtain information from the parents of children with SAM.
Results: SAM was present in 44.4% of all admitted children. No child above the age of 36 months had SAM and 84.8% of all SAM patients were less than 24 months old. Most mothers (72.9%) of the children with SAM were unemployed and (55.9%) had no formal education. Only 18.6% of these mothers practiced exclusive breastfeeding and as many as 62.7% of the children with SAM had been introduced to complementary feeds before 6 months of age.
Conclusion: This is the first time a very high prevalence of SAM has been reported in Nasarawa State. The absence of exclusive breastfeeding, early commencement of complementary feeds and lower educational status were prevalent among mothers of children with SAM.
Published Date: 2019-03-18; Received Date: 2019-02-17