What are the determinants of childhood infections in India's peri-urban slums? A case study of eight cities

Childhood Infections & Pollution (CHIP) Consortium

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Abstract

Background Respiratory Tract Infections (RTIs) and Gastro-Intestinal (GI) infections are the leading causes of child mortality and morbidity. This study investigates the associations between the individual, household and slum-level determinants of children's health and vulnerability to RTIs and GI infections in peri-urban slums in India; an area of research interest at the Childhood Infections and Pollution Consortium. Methods The 2015-16 Indian National Family Health Survey was used for data analysis on children aged 0-5 years. NFHS-4 includes data on slums in eight Indian cities, including Delhi, Meerut, Kolkata, Indore, Mumbai, Nagpur, Hyderabad, Chennai. The outcome variables, having fever and cough (FeCo) and diarrhoea in the last two weeks, were used to define the phenotype of infections; for this analysis fever and cough were measures of RTIs and diarrhoea was used to measure GI infections. Exposures considered in this study include variables at the individual, household and slum level and were all informed by existing literature. Multilevel models were used to estimate the association between exposures and outcomes variables; a prior of Cauchy distribution with a scale of 2.5 was selected when building the multilevel logistic models. Results The total sample size of the number of children included in the analysis was n = 1,424. Data was imputed to account for missingness, and the original and imputed sample showing similar distributions. Results showed that diarrhoea and FeCo were both found to be more present in younger children than older children by a few months. In fixed effects, the odds of developing FeCo were higher if the mother perceives the child was born smaller than average (AOR 4.41, 1.13-17.17, P<0.05) at individual level. On the other hand, the odds of the diarrhoea outcome were lower if the child was older (AOR 0.97, 0.96-0.98, P<0.05) at individual level, and household's water source was public tap or standpipe (AOR 0.54, 0.31-0.96, P<0.05) at household level. Conclusion The determinants of health, both social and related to health care, at all levels demonstrated linkages to child morbidity in RTIs and GI infections. The empirical evidence highlights the need for contextualised ideas at each level, including one health approach when designing interventions to improve child health.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0257797
JournalPloS one
Volume16
Issue number10 October
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2021

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