This comparative report on childhood morbidity and treatment patterns focuses on the symptoms associated with three of the leading causes of death in early childhood (diarrhea, cough accompanied by short, rapid breathing, and fever) and treatment responses to these symptoms. The analysis is based on data collected on children under age three in 52 developing countries. The surveys were conducted between 1996 and 2002 under the DHS-III and MEASURE DHS+ programs.
The data presented in this report show wide variation both within and between world regions in the prevalence of diarrhea, fever, and the symptoms of acute lower respiratory infection (ALRI) in young children. There are also substantial differentials in maternal care seeking and other treatment responses to early childhood illness.
The symptoms of diarrhea, fever, and ALRI all peak between 6 to 17 months of age.