Monitoring child growth: challenges and findings from the Nairobi urban health and demographic surveillance system
Jean-Christophe Fotso, African Population and Health Research Center (APHRC)
Using data from Maternal and Child Health project implemented in informal settlements of Nairobi by APHRC, this study explores the challenges and lessons learnt in collecting longitudinal child anthropometric data and it describes child growth patterns in poor urban communities where children have poor health outcomes. Information on the health of the child and anthropometric measurements of children enrolled in the study from January 2007 is taken on follow-up visits every 4 months for 3 years. Height-for-age, weight-for-age and weight-for-height z-scores are computed using the WHO/NCHS reference. Findings indicate refusal of mothers to weigh their babies as the main challenge while preliminary data show about 28% of children having low birth weight. In 12 months, only 34% of those with low birth weight were able to catch-up. Design and implementation of a longitudinal program to monitor child growth in urban poor is important to identify those at risk of death.