Nagasaki University, Japan
Title: Children’s health condition in the southern rural Lao PDR: A three-year longitudinal study in seven villages
Biography: Junko Okumura
Background & Aims: Health and Demographic Surveillance System (HDSS) initiated by Moji group revealed that infant mortality rate in Xepon area was 65/1000 live births in 2012. This was much higher than the national average in Lao PDR. To promote child health where people’s access to health care services was poor, i.e., Xepon district, we have been conducting a longitudinal study since 2013.
Methods: We collected data on illness episode of under five-year children in seven villages. After baseline data collection, village health volunteers (VHV) visited the target household every two weeks. VHVs and data collector asked a series of questions on illness related issues. Newborn children were added to the cohort. In addition, anthropometric data have been collected in collaboration with the local MCH office.
Results: We successfully followed 349 children from June 2014 through July 2017. The mean age of children was 3.3 years (SD: ±1.8 years). The observed total sick days during the period were 2,838 days and 267 children (76.5%) had at least one illness episode and the mean duration was 8.1 days. Major symptom was fever, cough and diarrhea. According to health center and hospital records in the catchment area, significantly more malaria cases were reported in 2014 than other years. Stunting was another background problem which may influence on children’s health in the area and vice versa. Median of z-score of height for age in each village never showed positive score, i.e., the range was -3.67 z-score and -1.36 z-score.
Conclusion: The factors associated to child health will be discussed such as nutrition, health seeking behavior, access to health care services, climate change and so on.