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Pan Afr Med J. 2018 May 31;30:91. doi: 10.11604/pamj.2018.30.91.15832. eCollection 2018.

Malnutrition among HIV infected children under 5 years of age at the Laquintinie hospital Douala, Cameroon.

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Department of Clinical Sciences, Faculty of Medicine and Pharmaceutical Sciences, University of Douala, Cameroon.
HIV Care and Treatment Centre, Laquintinie Hospital of Douala, Cameroon.
Department of Biological Sciences, Faculty of Medicine and Pharmaceutical Sciences, University of Douala, Cameroon.
Department of Biochemistry, Faculty of Science, University of Douala, Cameroon.
Department of Pediatrics, Faculty of Biomedical Sciences, University of Yaoundé I, Cameroon.



The aim of this study was to assess the prevalence of malnutrition among HIV infected children under five years of age followed up at the Laquintinie Hospital Douala (LHD).


Medical records of children aged 13 days-59 months enrolled at initiation of antiretroviral treatment in the Day Care Unit/LHD, were reviewed for a period of 14 years (from 2002 to 2015). We used standard Z-scores, with cut-off point of <-2 SD to define low height-for-age (HAZ), low weight-for-height (WHZ) and low weight-for-age (WAZ). Factors associated with malnutrition were assessed according to World Health Organization (WHO) criteria.


Overall, 217 medical records were included and 52.5% were records of boys. The median weight, height and age of the children was 9.5 kg (range: 2.5-20), 76 cm (range: 46- 117) and 22 months (range: 0.03-59), respectively. The overall prevalence of malnutrition among HIV-infected children was 68.7%; 63.6% were stunted (HAZ<-2), 37.8% were underweight (WAZ<-2) and 18.4 % were wasted (WHZ<-2). Severe and advanced immunological stages of HIV according to WHO were found in 42.4%, (39/92) and 17.4%, (16/92) of children respectively, and most of them (21.7%) were aged 12-36 months. The overall prevalence of anemia, oropharyngeal candidiasis and pulmonary tuberculosis were 34.6%, 12% and 8.8%, respectively. Oropharyngeal candidiasis was a risk factor independently associated with severe underweight and wasting (OR = 4.9, 95% CI: 1.8-13.5, p = 0.002) and (OR = 5.1, 95% CI: 1.5-17.1, p = 0.007).


HIV infection negatively affects the nutritional status of children under five years of age. Early detection of malnutrition is necessary and adequate nutrition should be integrated into the management of pediatric HIV.


Cameroon; Douala; HIV infected children; Malnutrition

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