Background: Acute respiratory tract infection (ARI) is a leading cause of morbidity and mortality in children under the age of five years in the world. ARIs, principally pneumonia, account for approximately 1.9 million (1.6 - 2.2 million) deaths globally in children under the age of five years in Ethiopia. Among these deaths majority occur in the developing world. The share for low and middle-income countries takes the highest indeed. In Ethiopia, the prevalence rate of ARI was 7% according to 2016 EDHS estimates.
Method: Bayesian multilevel approach was employed to assess possible factors associated with the prevalence of acute respiratory infection (ARI) among under-five children in Ethiopia. The data was collected from 10,641 children under the age of five years out of which 9,918 children were considered in this study.
Result: The ARI prevalence rate for children under five years was estimated as 8.4%, which was slightly higher than the estimated prevalence level of the country. The highest proportion of the prevalence of ARI was observed for children whose mothers had no education. The major health, environmental and nutritional related background characteristics of the proportion of children who had ARI varied from one region to another. The highest prevalence of ARI was observed in Tigray (15.31%) followed by Oromia (14.40%) as opposed to the low prevalence which was recorded in Benishangul Gumuz (2.58%). The utilization of vitamin A was analyzed and the results shows that about 43.10% who received vitamin A had the lowest proportion on the prevalence of ARI (7.75%) compared to not having vitamin A. About 11.13% of under-five children had Diarrhea with the highest prevalence of ARI (24.64%) and the highest prevalence of ARI was observed for the child whose source of drinking water were unprotected/unimproved (9.39%).
Conclusion: The age of the child, household wealth index, mother educational level, and vitamin A supplement, history of diarrhea, maternal work, stunting and source of drinking water were found to be significantly affecting the prevalence of ARI among children under five years. Furthermore, the study revealed that there is a significant variation of incidence of ARI between and within the regions of Ethiopia. Attention should be given to those predictor variables while planning to increase the health status of children in Ethiopia.