Journal of
Public Health and Epidemiology

  • Abbreviation: J. Public Health Epidemiol.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 2141-2316
  • DOI: 10.5897/JPHE
  • Start Year: 2009
  • Published Articles: 569

Full Length Research Paper

Prevalence of xerophthalmia and associated factors among school age children of Fadis, Oromia regional state, Eastern Ethiopia: School based cross-sectional study

Aliye Youya Wodaye*
  • Aliye Youya Wodaye*
  • Department of Nutrition, Save the Children, Ethiopia.
  • Google Scholar
Addisu Shunu Beyene
  • Addisu Shunu Beyene
  • Department of Environmental Health, College of Health and Medical Science, Haramaya University, Ethiopia.
  • Google Scholar
Hirbo Shore Roba
  • Hirbo Shore Roba
  • Department of Public Health, College of Health and Medical Science, Haramaya University, Ethiopia.
  • Google Scholar

  •  Received: 27 January 2016
  •  Accepted: 18 February 2016
  •  Published: 30 September 2016


Vitamin A deficiency has long been a public health nutritional problem among children across the world, affecting mostly children in sub-Saharan African countries including Ethiopia. Vitamin A deficiency causes xerophthalmia, a range of eye conditions from night blindness to more severe clinical outcomes such as keratomalacia and corneal scars, and permanent blindness. Therefore, this study aimed to assess prevalence of xerophthalmia and associated factors among Fedis primary School children, Oromia National Regional State, Eastern Ethiopia. A cross-sectional study was conducted on randomly selected 738 children of age 6 to 12 years. Data were collected using structured interview based questionnaires and ocular examination was carried out by ophthalmologic nurse to identify xerophthalmia. The data were entered into Epi data version 3.1. and exported to SPSS version 20 for analysis. Bivariate analysis and multivariate analysis were performed. Odd ratio together with 95% CI was estimated to identify factors associated with xerophthalmia. Level of statistically significance was declared at p<5%. The prevalence of Bitot’s spot, night blindness and xerophthalmia was 2.8% [95%CI (1.82 to 4.24%)], 14.2% [95%CI (11.85 to 16.89%)] and 14.6% [95%CI (12.2 to 17.3%)], respectively. The odds of xerophthalmia is 0.13 times less among uneducated mother/caregiver [AOR=0.13, 95%CI (0.03-0.55)]. Children whose family produce cash crop were 4.80 times more affected by xerophthalmia [AOR=4.80, 95% CI (1.55 to 14.83)]. The odds of xerophthalmia among the children from household which have no latrine is 1.92 times higher [AOR=1.92, 95% CI (1.06 to 3.48)]. In general, the prevalence of xerophthalmia was very high and remains a public health issue. Cash crop production, maternal education and availability of latrine were factors associated with xerophthalmia. Therefore, awareness creation to the community and emphasis on vitamin A rich food consumption for prevention of vitamin A deficiency was highly recommended.

Key words: Prevalence, Xerophthalmia, Biot’s spots, vitamin A deficiency, Night blindness, school age children.