Background Undernutrition immensely contribute to the death of almost half of the children under 5 years, translating into the loss of about 3 million young lives a year. In developing countries, penultimate to hunger that constitute to the death of most children, Protein Energy Malnutrition (PEM) amongst other factors account for the death of 49% of children below the age of five. Due to incessant increase in poverty level in Uganda, Jinja District five-year development plan of 2011 was designed to curb menace posed by malnutrition not only on children but also adults in this district. The objective of this study is to assess the prevalence and factors associated with PEM among under-fives admitted in the paediatric wards of Jinja Regional Referral Hospital (JRRH).
Methods To carry out this study, a descriptive questionnaire-based and facility-based cross-sectional study design was used which will apply both qualitative and quantitative approaches. The study involved a sample size of 364 with the study population being under-fives admitted in the paediatric wards of JRRH between March and August 2019.
Results Results of this study shows that 52 out of 364 admissions were due to PEM giving a prevalence of 14.29%, males being affected more than females, with suboptimal immunization history. Children aged between 12 – 24 months contributed the highest (34.62%) cases of PEM and most are living in rural areas with low family socio-economic status and poor breastfeeding and feeding practices. The under-five PEM case-fatality rate was 2% (1 out of 52).
Conclusion In conclusion, both the prevalence and case fatality rates of under-five PEM were high, calling for appropriate interventions based on the associated factors.