BACKGROUND: Most of the households in developing countries burn biomass fuel in traditional stoves with incomplete combustion that leads to high indoor air pollution and acute respiratory infections. Acute respiratory infection is the most common cause of under-five morbidity and mortality accounting for 2 million deaths worldwide and responsible for 18% of deaths among under-five children in Ethiopia. Although studies were done on acute respiratory infections, the majority of studies neither clinically diagnose respiratory infections nor use instant measurement of particulate matter.
METHODS: The community-based cross-sectional study design was employed among under-five children in Jimma town from May 21 to June 7, 2020. A total of 265 children through systematic random sampling were included in the study. The data were collected using a pretested semistructured questionnaire and laser pm 2.5 meter for indoor particulate matter concentration. Associations among factors were assessed through correlation analysis, and binary logistic regression was done to predict childhood acute respiratory infections. Variables with p-value less than 0.25 in bivariate regression were the candidate for the final multivariate logistic regression. Two independent sample t-tests were done to compare significant mean difference between concentrations of particulate matter.
RESULTS: Among 265 under-five children who were involved in the study, 179 (67.5%) were living in households that predominantly use biomass fuel. Prevalence of acute respiratory infections in the study area was 16%. Children living in households that use biomass fuel were four times more likely to develop acute respiratory infections than their counterparts (AOR: 4.348; 95% CI: 1.632, 11.580). The size of household was significantly associated with the prevalence of acute respiratory infections. Under-five children living in households that have a family size of six and greater had odds of 1.7 increased risk of developing acute respiratory infections than their counterparts (AOR: 1.7; 95% CI: 1.299, 2.212). The other factor associated with acute respiratory infection was separate kitchen; children living in households in which there were no separate kitchen were four times at increased risk of developing acute respiratory infection than children living in households which have separate kitchen (AOR: 4.591; 95% CI: 1.849, 11.402). The concentration of indoor particulate matter was higher in households using biomass fuel than clean fuel. There was statistically higher particulate matter concentration in the kitchen than living rooms (t = 4.509, p ≤ 0.001). Particulate matter 2.5 concentrations (μg/m3) of the households that had parental smoking were significantly higher than their counterparts (AOR: 20.224; 95% CI: 1.72, 12.58).
CONCLUSION: There is an association between acute respiratory infections and biomass fuel usage among under-five children. Focusing on improved energy sources is essential to reduce the burden and assure the safety of children.