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BACKGROUND: Diarrhea remains the leading cause of morbidity and mortality among under 5 children in low- and middle-income countries. In Tanzania, diarrhea remains one of the major public health problems. This study aimed to investigate spatial variations and the factors correlated with diarrhea in under five children.
METHODS: This is a secondary data analysis using data from the population-based cross section Tanzanian Demographic and Health Survey 2015-16 data. Spatial analysis was done using the Bernoulli model from SaTScanTM software, and a generalized linear mixed model was used to identify the factors associated with childhood diarrhea.
RESULTS: The overall reported prevalence of childhood diarrhea for the under five children in Tanzania was 12.1% (95%CI 11.3%- 12.9%). The SaTScan spatial statics analysis revealed that diarrhea in children was not random. The odds of diarrhea were 7.35 times higher (AOR= 7.35; 95%CI: 5.29, 10.22) among children in the 6- 11 months age group compared to children within the 48-59 months of age. As mother’s age increased, the risk of diarrhea for the under five children decreased whereas the highest risk of diarrhea was observed in the two rich income brackets richer (AOR=1.70, 95%CI=1.30, 2.22), and richest (AOR= 1.05, 95%CI=1, 1.09). The odds of diarrhea were 1.25 times higher (AOR=1.25, 95%CI=1.06, 1.46) among children with unsafe stool disposal compared to those with safe disposal.
CONCLUSION: The socio-demographic factors associated with diarrhea among children were mother’s age in years, current age of the child, wealth index and child stool disposal.