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Dr. Naseer Akhtar Jatoi
Dr Nazia Faraz
Dr. Vijia Kumar Gemnani
Dr. Shanti Lal Bhojwani
Dr. Sittara Gaad
Dr. Rashid Ali Siyal


Chronically malnourished, risk factors, stunting


INTRODUCTION: One of the main causes of death for children under five is malnutrition. Severe acute malnutrition (SAM) is defined by the World Health Organization (WHO) as a very low weight for height, brought on by either the appearance of nutritional edema or obvious severe wasting. A total of 3.1 million children die each year from undernutrition, accounting for 45% of all childhood fatalities. This includes stunting, wasting, low levels of vitamin A and zinc, poor breastfeeding, and fetal growth restriction.
OBJECTIVE: To determine the frequency of responsible factors for severe acute malnutrition (SAM) in children under the age of five years.
STUDY DESIGN AND SETTING: A descriptive cross-sectional was conducted at the NSC unit, Children's Hospital SMBB Medical University Larkana, during the period July 2022 to August 2023.
SUBJECTS AND METHOD: A total of 165 patients who met the criteria for enrollment participated in the study. An informed consent from the guardian of the patient was obtained following an explanation of the study's goal and protocol. The outcome variable, i.e., risk factors for SAM under five-year-old children (no exclusive breastfeeding, occasional hand washing, incomplete vaccination status, frequent diarrhea, frequent pneumonia, high distance to the nearest health facility, and use of TAP water), was analyzed applying SPSS version 24.

RESULTS: The mean age of the children was 25.12+12.68 months. Out of 267 SAM children, 152 (57%) were male and 115 (47%) were female. The most responsible risk factor was found to be incomplete vaccination status 205 (76.6%), followed by high distance to the nearest health facility 190 (71%), occasional hand washing and use of TAP water and untimely weaning 184 (69%), frequent diarrhea 157 (59%), no exclusive breastfeeding 136 (51%), and frequent pneumonia 130 (49%).
CONCLUSION: A wide range of infant and mother risk factors for infant SAM have been found, such as incomplete immunization, a considerable distance to the closest medical facility, hygiene, the use of TAP water, untimely weaning, no exclusive breastfeeding, and infectious diseases. For this age group, a comprehensive care plan is necessary.

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