oa Southern African Journal of Epidemiology and Infection - Health service utilisation and health status of children aged 12-23 months in Ubombo district, rural KwaZulu-Natal

Volume 22, Issue 4
  • ISSN : 1015-8782
  • E-ISSN: 2220-1084



This article presents data on child health service utilisation and health status obtained from a maternal and child health survey conducted in Ubombo district, rural north eastern KwaZulu-Natal. Data were collected by interviewing mothers/caregivers of children aged 12-23 months during June-August 1998. The indicators measured were: i) possession of a road-to-health card, ii) vaccination coverage, iii) clinic attendance for growth monitoring and treatment of minor ailments, iv) low birth weight, v) nutritional status and vi) minor ailments for which treatment was sought. Of the 646 children, 95% possessed a road-to-health card. Vaccination coverage ranged from 87.3% for BCG and polio given at birth to 78.2% for measles; 88.5% of children had attended the clinic for growth monitoring and almost all the children had attended the clinic for treatment of minor ailments during the first year of life. There were 6% low birth weight children; 1.2% wasted; 26% stunted and 6.3% underweight. In comparison to previous studies conducted in the same area, the results suggest a high level of child health service utilisation. The rate of low birth weight is probably an under-estimate and requires further attention. Nutritional status shows frequency distributions similar to those reported in South African populations for the past 10-15 years.

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