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Public Health




Diarrhea in children remains a major public health problem in Uganda and other countries in the region and acts as one of the leading contributors to child mortality. Most of the risk factors for diarrhea in children are preventable. This study, guided by the socioecological model, was conducted to investigate the association between the occurrence of diarrhea in children and length of breastfeeding, coinfection with acute respiratory infection (ARI), and vaccination status of the child. These variables were identified in the literature as risk factors for diarrhea that had not been investigated in Uganda. The source of the data for this study was the Uganda Demographic and Health Survey 2011 dataset. Data analyses included descriptive statistics of all variables, bivariate analysis using binary logistic regression and multivariable logistic regression. Findings indicated that longer breastfeeding duration was associated with lower incidence of diarrhea. This was particularly significant when breastfeeding was continued beyond 24 months of age. Children who had ARI were twice as likely to have diarrhea as compared to children without ARI. Vaccination status was not significantly associated with occurrence of diarrhea. Increasing age of the child as well as higher age and higher education level of the mother were found to be associated with less occurrence of diarrhea in the child. This study may contribute to positive social change through recommendations that could reduce the burden of diarrhea in children. These recommendations include longer breastfeeding periods up to at least 3 years, integrated management of ARI and diarrhea, and policy support for women in this region to attain higher education levels and engage in less early childbearing.

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