Introduction Diarrhoea presents a global health problem and a leading cause of morbidity and mortality in developing countries. Over the decades, the rate of morbidity due to diarrhoea among children has not changed considerably. Contaminated water, inadequate sanitation and poor hygiene remain the most predominant risk factors for this disease. Our study evaluated the prevalence of childhood diarrhoea and risk factors associated with the illness in a disadvantaged community of more than 15 000 people in Lebanon.
Methods The study utilised a random cross-sectional design and structured questionnaire with women homemakers, and included data on 460 children aged 5 years old or younger. Data on socio-demographic variables, 4-week diarrhoeal prevalence, and indicators of potential risk factors affecting the incidence of diarrhoea were collected. A multiple logistic regression analysis identified the associations between these indicators and diarrhoeal prevalence.
Results The findings showed that 21% of children experienced a diarrhoeal episode in the past 4 weeks. Children, who were not breastfed, walked barefoot, and whose mother perceives diarrhoea as non-preventable were more likely to suffer from diarrhoea.
Conclusion Based on the study findings, a strategy to reduce childhood diarrhoea might include community awareness programs promoting breastfeeding and childcare practices and improve personal and domestic hygiene conditions. It is also valuable to carry out research on the social determinants of childhood diarrhoea, which could inform relevant interventions in the local context. The combination of these strategies in turn will guide the design of contextually relevant and effective community-based programs that reduce diarrhoea.
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