Acute respiratory infections (ARIs) remains a disease of public health importance in Nigeria. Though, previous studies have identified factors associated with childhood ARI symptoms, the progress made in reducing the burden of this major childhood morbidity in the past decade in Nigeria has not been quantified. Therefore, this study describes the trends in the prevalence and factors associated with ARI symptoms among under-five (U5) children in Nigeria between years 2003 and 2013.
A retrospective cross-sectional analysis of nationally representative data from the Nigeria Demographic and Health Surveys (NDHS) for years 2003, 2008 and 2013 was done. The study sample included women of reproductive age who had U5 children presenting with a cough accompanied with short rapid breaths in the last 2 weeks prior data collection. Data were analysed using complementary log regression model.
Prevalence of ARI symptoms were 10.3, 4.6 and 3.8% for years 2003, 2008 and 2013 respectively. The use of unclean cooking fuel was not associated with ARI symptom in 2003 and 2008, but in 2013 (OR = 2.50, CI: 1.16–5.42). Living in houses built with poor quality materials was associated with higher risk of ARI symptoms in 2008 (OR = 1.34, CI: 1.11–1.61) and 2013 (OR = 1.59, CI: 1.32–1.93). Higher risk of ARI symptoms was also associated with younger child’s age, Northern regions and household wealth quintile between 2003 and 2013.
Though there has been a significant progress in the reduction of the prevalence of ARI symptoms between 2003 and 2013, the same could not be said of household environmental risk factors. Interventions to reduce the contributory effects of these factors to the occurrence of ARI symptoms should be instituted by government and other relevant stakeholders.