Utilization of Khat and Related Determinants Among Pregnant & Lactating Women within Haramaya, Ethiopia

Khat, a green leafy plant grown in East Africa, is chewed for its psychoactive and amphetamine-like effects, serving as a significant aspect of traditional culture, economic livelihood, and global trade. Khat consumption during pregnancy reveals adverse effects including anemia, prelabor rupture of membranes, low birth weight, among others. This study was conducted in the Haramaya District of the Oromia region of eastern Ethiopia using a questionnaire, focus group discussions, and in-depth interviews. Questionnaires were used to assess socio demographic information, pregnancy history, and diet, including khat use. FGDs expanded on the knowledge, attitudes, and practices of khat in the region and included pregnant or lactating women from two different kebeles.

A total of 444 pregnant women with a median age of 25 years completed the questionnaire. Two-thirds of the women, 66.8%, reported currently using khat while pregnant, and of those women 72.5% reported daily use. This study revealed an alarming high prevalence of khat consumption among pregnant women in the Oromia region, highlighting the pressing need for long-term studies to assess the health consequences. The role of khat as both an economic staple and an energy source for labor underscores the challenges in curbing its use. The documented health risks associated with the chemicals used in khat cultivation, including cancer, call for interventions directed at enhancing safe agricultural practices in households involved in khat farming.

Research Focus

  • Epidemiology

    At the EIGH, our researchers use epidemiology to understand the distribution and determinants of the health and disease conditions in specific populations, and to identify risk factors for certain diseases. This allows them to develop, implement, and measure the impact of targeted, preventative healthcare methods. 

  • Maternal/Child and Community Health

    At the EIGH, our researchers explore multifaceted health issues pertaining to women, pregnancy, breastfeeding, reproduction, and infant and child well-being. Our focus to decrease maternal and infant mortality rates supports a global priority among health practitioners and researchers. Additionally, community-based research on the local and global levels promotes a team effort to protect and improve the health of population groups worldwide. 

  • Non-communicable Diseases

    The EIGH conducts research to fight a number of diseases and conditions around the world. This includes non-communicable diseases or chronic illnesses, including cardiac conditions and cancer. 

Who’s Involved

EIGH Faculty

  • University of Florida
  • Haramaya University


Other Research in Ethiopia