Second cycle: Child health

Left: A field worker measures mid-upper arm circumference.        Right: Preparation for a household interview on child health

In early 2011 we began the second social audit for the project on the subject of child health. In mid-2011, we trained field teams, including government nominees, in Nigeria’s Bauchi and Cross River states and in focus local government authorities (LGAs) within these states.

The field teams visited households in representative communities in the states and focus LGAs and spoke to mothers and care givers of 22,544 children 0-47 months. They collected information on the children’s experience of illnesses and their immunization history as well as measuring their mid-upper arm circumference to indicate nutritional status.

The second evidence-gathering cycle collected information on:

Child health findings

Women participate in a focus group discussion in Cross River

The study found that across the both states, childhood immunization rates were quite low. Only 12% of children in Bauchi and 43% in Cross River were fully immunized.

In Bauchi and Cross River, most households had at least one treated bed net. However, in Bauchi only about half and in Cross River less than half of all children under four always slept under a treated bed net during malaria season.

In 2011, 12% of children aged 6-47 months in Bauchi and 5% in Cross River were malnourished. The study also established a significant association between frequent episodes of diarrhoea and malnutrition.

Later in the year, teams visited these communities again and conducted focus group discussions to disseminate and discuss key findings with separate groups of men and women. We also discussed key findings with planners and policy makers.

For more detailed information on the child health survey findings and focus group discussions, visit our pages on childhood immunization, diarrhoea and its management, malaria and use of bed nets, malnutrition and breastfeeding, and water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH). Photos from our fieldwork are available in our child health photo gallery.

For more on this initiative, visit IDRC’s project website.