Food insecurity and self-reported cholera in Haitian households: An analysis of the 2012 Demographic and Health Survey

by Aaron Richterman, Molly F. Franke, Georgery Constant, Gregory Jerome, Ralph Ternier, Louise C. Ivers

Background

Both cholera and food insecurity tend to occur in impoverished communities where poor access to food, inadequate sanitation, and an unsafe water supply often coexist. The relationship between the two, however, has not been well-characterized.

Methods

We performed a secondary analysis of household-level data from the 2012 Demographic and Health Survey in Haiti, a nationally and sub-nationally representative cross-sectional household survey conducted every five years. We used multivariable logistic regression to evaluate the relationship between household food security (as measured by the Household Hunger Scale) and (1) reported history of cholera since 2010 by any person in the household and (2) reported death by any person in the household from cholera (among households reporting at least one case). We performed a complete case analysis because there were <1% missing data for all variables.

Results

There were 13,181 households in the survey, 2,104 of which reported at least one household member with history of cholera. After adjustment for potential confounders, both moderate hunger in the household [Adjusted Odds Ratio (AOR) 1.51, 95% Confidence Interval (CI) 1.30–1.76; p <.0001] and severe hunger in the household (AOR 1.73, 95% CI 1.45–2.08; p <.0001) were significantly associated with reported history of cholera in the household. Severe hunger in the household (AOR 1.85, 95% CI 1.05–3.26; p = 0.03), but not moderate hunger in the household, was independently associated with reported death from cholera in households with at least one case of cholera.

Conclusions

In this study we identified an independent relationship between household food insecurity and both reported history of cholera and death from cholera in a general population. The directionality of this relationship is uncertain and should be further explored in future prospective research.

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