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Poverty and fever vulnerability in Nigeria: a multilevel analysis

Oyindamola B Yusuf13*, Babatunde W Adeoye2, Oladimeji O Oladepo3, David H Peters4 and David Bishai5

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Epidemiology and Medical Statistics, College of Medicine, University of Ibadan, Ibadan, Nigeria

2 Department of Economics, University of Lagos, Lagos, Nigeria

3 Future Health Systems Research Programme Consortium, Department of Health Promotion & Education, College of Medicine, University of Ibadan, Ibadan, Nigeria

4 International Health, Health Systems programs. John Hopkins School of Public Health, Baltimore, USA

5 Dept of Population, Family and Reproductive Health, John Hopkins School of Public Health, Baltimore, USA

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Malaria Journal 2010, 9:235  doi:10.1186/1475-2875-9-235

Published: 19 August 2010



Malaria remains a major public health problem in Sub Saharan Africa, where widespread poverty also contribute to the burden of the disease. This study was designed to investigate the relationship between the prevalence of childhood fever and socioeconomic factors including poverty in Nigeria, and to examine these effects at the regional levels.


Determinants of fever in the last two weeks among children under five years were examined from the 25004 children records extracted from the Nigeria Demographic and Health Survey 2008 data set. A two-level random effects logistic model was fitted.


About 16% of children reported having fever in the two weeks preceding the survey. The prevalence of fever was highest among children from the poorest households (17%), compared to 15.8% among the middle households and lowest among the wealthiest (13%) (p<0.0001). Of the 3,110 respondents who had bed nets in their households, 506(16.3%) children had fever, while 2,604(83.7%) did not. (p=0.082). In a multilevel model adjusting for demographic variables, fever was associated with rural place of residence (OR=1.27, p<0.0001, 95% CI: 1.16, 1.41), sex of child: female (OR=0.92, p=0.022, 95% CI: 0.859, 0.988) and all age categories (>6months), whereas the effect of wealth no longer reached statistical significance.


While, overall bednet possession was low, less fever was reported in households that possessed bednets. Malaria control strategies and interventions should be designed that will target the poor and make an impact on poverty. The mechanism through which wealth may affect malaria occurrence needs further investigation.