Author(s): Ssekandi, N., Tlotleng, N., Naicker, N.

Source: BMC Infectious Diseases (2023) 23:480


Background: Uganda is among the 10 countries in the sub-Saharan Africa region that have the highest prevalence of diarrhoeal disease. Evidence suggests that the severity of childhood diarrhoeal disease is escalated through various sociodemographic and environmental factors.

Objectives: To assess prevalence of diarrheal illness in children below the age of 5 years in Uganda in 2016 and associated factors.

Methods: A cross-sectional study was employed that analyzed secondary data from the 2016 Uganda Demography and Health Surveys. Children with and without diarrhea were compared. A logistic regression was used to determine sociodemographic and environmental factors associated with diarrheal illness in children with statistical significance at p<0.05.

Results: The prevalence of childhood diarrhoeal illness for children below the age of 5 years in Uganda was 20.9% (n=2838/13,753). There was a statistically significant difference when comparing children diarrhoeal with the following sociodemographic factors: caregiver’s age, child’s age and gender and duration of breastfeeding (p<0.0001). Children with a caregiver aged between 15 and 24 years (aOR;1.42; 95% CI:1.24–1.62) and 25–34 years (aOR;1.19; 95% CI:1.04–1.37) were more likely to report diarrhoeal disease, compared to those with a caregiver aged 35–49 years. For environmental factors, households using springs water, access to health facility and children who received a dose of vitamin A had a decreased risk of reporting children diarrhoeal.

Conclusion: Significant factors in the study like caregiver’s age, gender and duration of breastfeeding will create the opportunity for all interventions to shift their focus to these factors thus a better evidence-based approach to reducing of diarrhoeal disease will be achieved in the country.

Keywords: diarrhea; sociodemographic factors; environmental factors; children under five; Uganda