Virtual Conference

Similien Ndagijimana

University of Rwanda, Rwanda

Title: Prediction of Stunting Among Under-5 Children in Rwanda Using Machine Learning Techniques


Introduction: Rwanda reported a stunting rate of 33% in 2020, decreasing from 38% in 2015; however, stunting remains an issue. Globally, child deaths from malnutrition stand at 45%. The best options for the early detection and treatment of stunting should be made a community policy priority, and health services remain an issue. Hence, this research aimed to develop a model for predicting stunting in Rwandan children. Methods: The Rwanda Demographic and Health Survey 2019-2020 was used as secondary data. Stratified 10-fold cross-validation was used, and different machine learning classifiers were trained to predict stunting status. The prediction models were compared using different metrics, and the best model was chosen. Results: The best model was developed with the gradient boosting classifier algorithm, with a training accuracy of 80.49% based on the performance indicators of several models. Based on a confusion matrix, the test accuracy, sensitivity, specificity, and F1 were calculated, yielding the model’s ability to classify stunting cases correctly at 79.33%, identify stunted children accurately at 72.51%, and categorize non-stunted children correctly at 94.49%, with an area under the curve of 0.89. The model found that the mother’s height, television, the child’s age, province, mother’s education, birth weight, and childbirth size were the most important predictors of stunting status. Conclusions: Therefore, machine-learning techniques may be used in Rwanda to construct an accurate model that can detect the early stages of stunting and offer the best predictive attributes to help prevent and control stunting in under five Rwandan children.


Similien NDAGIJIMANA is a PHD candidate at African Center of Excellence in Data Science, University of Rwanda. He is an assistant lecturer at College of Medicine and Applied health science, Primary healthcare department at university of Rwanda. He has 4 publications that have been cited 5 times. He has been serving as a Data Manager of Kabgayi District Hospital over 5 years.