Background: Childhood acute malnutrition, in the form of wasting defined by a severe weight loss as a result of acute food shortage and/or illness. It is a critical public health problem that needs urgent attention in developing countries, like Ethiopia. Despite its variation between localities, the risk factors and its geospatial variation were not addressed enough across the various corner of the country. Therefore, the current study was undertaken to assess spatial variation and factors associated with acute malnutrition among under-five children in Ethiopia.
Methods: A total weighted sample of 4,955 under-five children were included from the 2019 Demographic and Health Survey. Getis-Ord spatial statistical tool used to identify the hot and cold spot areas of severe and acute malnutrition. A multilevel multivariable logistic regression model using was used to examine predictors of acute malnutrition. In the multivariable multilevel analysis, Adjusted Odds Ratio with 95% CI was used to declare significant determinants of acute malnutrition among children.
Result: Among 4,955 under-five children, 7% of them were wasted and 1% of them were severely wasted in Ethiopia during the 2019 national demographic survey. The distribution was followed some spatial geo-locations where most parts of Somali were severely affected (RR=1.46, P37 value < 0.001), and the distribution affected few areas of Afar, Gambella, and Benishangul Gumz regions. Factors that significantly associated with childhood wasting were: gender(male)1.9(1.3-2.7), age (above 36 months) 0.5 (0.2-0.9), wealth index(richest) 0.5(0.2-0.8), and water source(unimproved source) 1.5(1.0-2.3).
Conclusion and Recommendation: Our finding implies, the distribution of childhood wasting was not random. Regions like Afar, Somali, and pocket areas in Gambella and SNNP should be considered as priority areas nutritional interventions for reducing acute malnutrition. The established socio-demographic and economic characteristics can be also used to develop strategies.