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Diarrhoea is an important public health challenge in developing and developed countries, and children below five years are at risk. It is one of the diseases that has brought a higher mortality and morbidity amongst children, with some signs and symptoms including loose watery stool, abdominal cramps, dehydration which can be managed using oral rehydration solution .The aim of this research was to assess mother’s knowledge on the causes, risk factors and prevention of diarrhoea in children age zero to five years in Bakweri town Buea. A cross sectional study was use in this study and the study lasted for six months, from the month of November 2021 to April 2022. It involved a total of 50 mothers. The data obtained was analysed manually and input in the computer using excel 2010 and presented in frequency tables. 78% mothers cited drinking dirty water was the cause while 36% cited poorly prepared meat was the cause and following objective two, 78% cited poor nutrition is a risk factor of diarrhoea and 32% said children that eat twice a day is a risk factor of diarrhoea and with regards to objective 3, 92% said making sure there is proper care when preparing food can be a preventive method of diarrhoea and 46% cited drinking enough water is a preventive method of diarrhoea. The researcher recommends that future research should be done using large scale so as to get concrete result.



1.1 Background

Diarrhoea is a digestive problem that causes loose bowel movement and frequent passing out of watery stool about 3 or more times a day. Diarrhoea can be acute, persistent or chronic with the acute being a common problem that typically last for one to two days and goes away on its own (1)

Diarrhoea has some root causes which can be bacterial infection, viral infection, trouble digesting certain things (food intolerance) an immune system response to certain food (food allergy), parasites that enter the body through food or water, reaction to medicine and intestinal disease such as inflammatory bowel disease, surgery on the stomach or gall bladder problem.

Approximately 1.7 billion cases of children are being diagnosed with diarrhoea disease every year globally and diarrhoea is a leading cause of malnutrition in children under age five (1). Annual death due to diarrhoea is estimated to be 525,000 children under age five. According to WHO diarrhoea disease can be prevented through safe drinking water, adequate sanitation and hygiene (1). Diarrhoea in children can also be differentiated based on their pathophysiologic causes divided into secretory osmotic, inflammatory, and fatty diarrhoea. At a subcellular level in the intestine, multiple factors play a role simultaneously to cause diarrhoea and patient that have severe inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) the secretory osmotic, and inflammatory components can all work at the same time to cause diarrhoea (2). 

 In Africa and Asia it has been documented that 1.5 million deaths occur yearly due to diarrhoea and it is in children under 5years of age and it assumes one of the leading cause of death after Pneumonia, killing more young children than AIDS, malaria and measles (2).  Chronic diarrhoea lasting for more than 4 weeks affects 5% of the population, significantly impacting low quality of life and representing an important cause of morbidity and mortality (3).

In Cameroon, paucity of data on diarrhoea morbidity and mortality does exist and epidemiological studies have indicated that the community-based prevalence of acute diarrhoea   ranges from 16% to 23% amongst under five depending on the study site. Statistics have shown that diarrhoea increased by 17.4% in 2018 according to the World Bank collection of developing indicators, compiled from officially recognized sources (4).

Diarrhoea disease is the third leading cause of death in children younger than five years of age in Africa and is responsible for an estimated 30million cases of severe diarrhoea (5).  Overall it can be seen that the highest death in Sub Saharan Africa and South Asia typically ranges from 50-150 per 100 thousand .Diarrhoea remains a major public health problem especially in developing countries where it is one of the leading cause of childhood morbidity and mortality (6).

The recommended management of diarrhoea is the use of oral rehydration therapy, rice water, and clean water are also recommended home based fluids. A number of diseases and condition can cause diarrhoea including viruses, bacteria and parasite, medications, lactose intolerance, fructose, artificial sweeteners (found in chewing gums and other sugar free product can cause diarrhoea in some healthy people and those who have undergone  surgery.(7).  

1.2 Rationale

According to WHO passage of 3 or more than 3 loose stools or watery stools per day for a normal child is considered as diarrhoea (1).Diarrhoea disease remains one of the leading cause of death among under 5 children worldwide. Globally, 1.7 million deaths occur due to diarrhoea disease and kills more young children than malaria, HIV/AIDS and measles all put together. (8, 9)

Diarrhoea disease is one of the most common disease that has the greatest negative impact on the growth and development of infant and young children (10)

In Africa and Asia it is said to be 1.5 million death per year and Cameroon having 16% to 23% of estimated deaths, which is a call for concern (4). An increase in the number of deaths among children under five years of age have become so alarming due to diarrhoea and the main cause of diarrhoea is attributed to the water source that the children are obliged to drink due to poor water facilities as well as fruits that are not washed well and poorly prepared food. With all these, children with very weak immune systems are more prone to have diarrhoea, as such an arising need to carry out research on diarrhoea identifying some causes and predisposing factors that makes children prone to diarrhoea and some preventive measures that need to be put in place to reduce the prevalence of diarrhoea disease.

1.3 Goal of study

The goal of this study was to assess Mothers knowledge on the causes, risk factors and prevention of diarrhoea in order to create awareness and reduce the prevalence of diarrhoea in children 0 to 5 years

1.4 Objectives

1.4.1 General objective

To Assess Mother’s Knowledge on the causes, risk factors and prevention of diarrhoea in children aged 0 to 5 years in Bakweri town Buea.

1.4.2 Specific objectives

  • To assess Mother’s knowledge on the causes of diarrhoea in children under five years of age in Bakweri town Buea.
  • To assess Mother’s knowledge on the risk factors and prevention of diarrhoea in children under five years of age in Bakweri town Buea.
  • To assess Mother’s knowledge on the preventive measures of diarrhoea in children under five years of age in Bakweri town Buea.
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