Menu ENN Search

A qualitative study of the root causes of undernutrition in Nairobi slums

Research snapshot1

Children in slums are at high risk of undernutrition, which has long-term negative consequences on their physical growth and cognitive development and increases their risk of mortality. This study provides an analysis of the causes of undernutrition in children as perceived by community members in two slums in Nairobi, Kenya. The data used in the study were collected for a formative study in April 2012 that aimed to understand infant and young child feeding (IYCF) practices to inform a subsequent intervention. The present paper draws on this analysis of ten focus group discussions (FGDs) and ten individual interviews (KIIs) conducted with women of childbearing age, community health workers, community elders, community leaders and other knowledgeable people in the two slum communities.

Questions included perceptions of the nutritional status of infants living in the local community; knowledge, attitudes and practices with regard to maternal, infant and young child nutrition; and nutritional status of children in urban slums. Questions focused on the contextual and sociocultural norms that in?uence IYCF practices. The FGDs and KIIs were recorded and transcribed verbatim. Key concepts were drawn out to enable thematic analysis.

A total of 90 individuals participated in FGDs (n=80) and KIIs (n=10). The analysis shows that participants understand the linkages between root causes and child nutritional health as expressed in the UNICEF conceptual framework. The respondents’ narratives strongly linked infant and child undernutrition and inadequate dietary intake, household food insecurity, inappropriate care and feeding practices. Identified risk factors included: water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) practices, family planning, maternal work, parents’ alcohol abuse and consumption of street foods.

The authors conclude that to tackle the immediate and underlying causes of undernutrition in slum communities, interventions should aim to: (i) improve maternal health and nutrition; (ii) promote optimal IYCF practices; (iii) support mothers in their working role; (iv) increase access to family planning; (v) improve WASH; (vi) address alcohol problems at all levels; and (vii) address street food issues with infant feeding counselling.


Footnotes

1Goudet S, Kimani-Murage E, Wekesah F, Wanjohi M, Griffiths P, Bogin B and Madise N. (2017). How does poverty affect children’s nutritional status in Nairobi slums? A qualitative study of the root causes of undernutrition. Public Health Nutrition, 20(4), 608-619.


 

More like this

FEX: Causal modelling to explore malnutrition in children in Bangladeshi urban slums

By Sophie Goudet Sophie is a nutritionist with over nine years experience with international agencies in nutrition and health within developing countries. Her research...

FEX: Social Return on Investment (SROI) assessment of a Baby-Friendly Community Initiative in urban poor settings, Nairobi, Kenya

By Sophie Goudet, Caroline W. Wainaina, Teresia N. Macharia, Milka N. Wanjohi, Frederick M. Wekesah, Peter Muriuki, Betty Samburu, Paula L. Griffiths and Elizabeth W....

FEX: Time to think urban.....Kenya

By Linda Beyer, Valerie Wambani and Koki Kyalo Linda Beyer is Nutrition Specialist (Infant and Young Child Nutrition and HIV/AIDS) with UNICEF Kenya and is based in...

FEX: Spotting the invisible crisis: early warning indicators in urban slums of Nairobi, Kenya

By Lilly Schofield, Shukri F Mohamed, Elizabeth Wambui Kimani-Murage, Frederick Murunga Wekesah, Blessing Mberu and Thaddaeus Egondi, Catherine Kyobutungi and Remare Ettarh...

FEX: Review of food security and nutrition amongst urban poor

Summary of review1 Location: Kenya, Niger, Bangladesh What we know: A significant and increasing proportion of the world population resides in urban slums. Achieving food...

FEX: From the editor

This Field Exchange special issue on Urban Food Security and Nutrition aims to provide some insights into the learning and experience of a broad range of agencies, and...

FEX: Understanding access to nutritious food by poor urban pregnant women and lactating mothers and their children in Kisumu, Kenya

By Albertien van der Veen, Rik Delnoye and Femke van der Lee Albertien van der Veen is an experienced public health nutritionist/epidemiologist and team-leader of the urban...

FEX: Children in an urban world

Summary of report1 The experience of childhood is increasingly urban. Over half the world’s people – including more than a billion children – now live in cities and...

FEX: The roll out of IMAM in Kenya’s urban slums

By Koki Kyalo, Claire Orengo, Regine Kopplow Koki Kyalo is the Urban Nutrition Programme Manager at Concern Worldwide, Kenya. She has worked with Concern Worldwide for five...

FEX: Increasing nutrition-sensitivity of value chains: a review of two Feed the Future Projects in Guatemala

By Alyssa Klein Alyssa Klein is a food security and nutrition specialist with JSI Research & Training Institute on the Strengthening Partnerships, Results, and Innovations in...

FEX: Adolescent inclusion in the Care Group approach: the Nigeria experience

By Shiromi Michelle Perera Shiromi Michelle Perera is a Technical Officer with the Nutrition, Food Security and Livelihoods Unit at International Medical Corps, Washington...

FEX: Acceptability and feasibility of a child-feeding toolkit in Malawi

By Ellah Kedera, Meghan Anson, Emily Faerber, Jennifer Weiss and Amy Webb Girard The authors acknowledge and thank all stakeholders involved in supporting the research...

FEX: Integrated management of acute malnutrition in Kenya including urban settings

By Valerie Sallie Wambani Valerie Wambani is Programme Manager for Food Security and Emergency Nutrition, Division of Nutrition, Ministry of Public Health and Sanitation. She...

FEX: Adolescent nutrition in Mozambique: putting policy into practice

Research By Erin Homiak Erin Homiak MPH is seconded to SETSAN Manica as Nutrition Advisor. Her role is funded by UKaid/DFID. She has been working for Concern Worldwide since...

FEX: Building a case for causality through the NCA approach in Satkhira, Bangladesh

Marijka van Klinken, Matthew Parnaby, Paulina Acosta and Julien Chalimbaud Marijka van Klinken was the NCA Analyst conducting this study. She holds an MSc of Public Health...

FEX: Assessment of adolescent girl nutrition, dietary practices and roles in Zimbabwe

Amelia Reese-Masterson and Pamela Murakwani Amelia Reese-Masterson has been with International Medical Corps since November 2011 as Research Advisor in the Nutrition, Food...

FEX: Assessing the intervention on infant feeding in Gaza 2008

By Susan Thurstans and Vicky Sibson Susan Thurstans has been part of the emergency response team for nutrition with Save the Children UK since January 2009 and previously...

FEX: Impact of an integrated agriculture and nutrition and health behaviour change communication programme for women in Burkina Faso

Summary of research1 Location: Burkina Faso What we know: The agricultural sector has great potential to contribute to improving nutrition.; However, current evidence of...

en-net: IYCF practices

As part of a master's work, I focused my research on the analysis of the relationship between IYCF practices and wasting in children aged 6 to 23 years. I would be...

FEX: Nutrition programming in Northern Bar el Ghazal, South Sudan: A time to reflect

By Natalie Sessions and Regine Kopplow View this article as a pdf Lisez cet article en français ici Natalie Sessions is the Emergency Nutrition Programme Manager for...

Close

Reference this page

A qualitative study of the root causes of undernutrition in Nairobi slums. Field Exchange 55, July 2017. p19. www.ennonline.net/fex/55/undernutritioninnairobislums

(ENN_5681)

Close

Download to a citation manager

The below files can be imported into your preferred reference management tool, most tools will allow you to manually import the RIS file. Endnote may required a specific filter file to be used.