A cross-sectional study to assess the prevalence of intestinal helminth infections and nutritional status of primary school children was conducted in the Wakiso district in Central Uganda. A total of 432 primary school children aged 6-14 years were randomly selected from 23 schools. Anthropometric measurements of weight, height, MUAC were undertaken and analyzed using AnthroPlus software. Stool samples were examined using a Kato-Katz method. The prevalence of stunting, underweight and moderate acute malnutrition (MAM) was 22.5%, 5.3% and 18.5% respectively. Males had a threefold risk of being underweight (OR 3.2, 95% CI 1.17-9.4, p = 0.011) and 2 fold risk of suffering from MAM (OR 2.1, 95% CI 1.21-3.48, p = 0.004). Children aged 10-14 years had a 2.9 fold risk of stunting (OR 2.9, 95% CI 1.37-6.16, p = 0.002) and 1.9 risk of MAM (OR 1.9, 95% CI 1.07-3.44, p = 0.019). Attending urban slum schools had 1.7 fold risk of stunting (OR 1.7, 95% CI 1.03-2.75, p = 0.027). Rural schools presented a twofold risk of helminth infection (OR 1.95, 95% CI 1.12-3.32, p = 0.012). The prevalence of helminth infections was (10.9%), (3.1%), (1.9%), (0.2%) for hookworm, Trichuriatrichiura, Schistosomamansoni and Ascarislumbricoides, respectively. The study revealed that 26.6%, 46% and 10.3% of incidences of stunting, underweight and MAM respectively were attributable to helminth infections.
Keywords: Uganda; helminths; moderate acute malnutrition (MAM); stunting; underweight.