Tariku Neme Afata

  • Designation: Norwegian Life Science University ( NMBU)
  • Country: Norway
  • Title: Effects of Chewing Khat (Catha edulis) among Secondary School Students of Western Ethiopia


Tariku Neme Afata is currently enrolled as a third-year PhD student at the Norwegian University of Life Sciences (NMBU), Norway in collaboration with Jimma University and he specializes in Environmental health sciences. Before Tariku decided to join the Ph.D. program he already worked as a lecturer at the College of Oromia, Ethiopia for more than ten years. Currently, he is researching micronutrient deficiency of pregnant women due to malnutrition, and agrochemicals' effect on soil micronutrients at the Norwegian University of Life Sciences (NMBU), Norway, and now he has more than twelve publications.


The habit of chewing khat is growing more widespread among young people worldwide, particularly in higher education institutions. Students may also experience memory impairment, poor academic performance, and frequent misbehavior as a result. The purpose of this study was to ascertain in 2022 the incidence of khat chewing among secondary school students in the Kellem Wollega zone, Mechara town, Ethiopia.
 A cross-sectional study was employed on 417 Secondary School Students. Data were collected using a self-administered questionnaire and analyzed using SPSS 24 software. Data were collected using pre-tested structured questionnaires via face-to-face interviews. Data were entered into SPSS and binary logistic regression analyses were used to determine the association between the predictor and the outcome variables. A p-value < 0.05 was considered statically significant.
 The current prevalence of khat chewing practice among medical students was 31.8%. The odds of khat chewing practice were higher among males 1.82 times than female secondary school students(AOR=1.82, 95%CI:1.06-3.1), and Muslim believers were 5.9 more likely exposed to khat chewing than non-muslim believers (AOR = 5.9, 95%CI:2.46 - 14.16). Additionally, grade 11th  and 12th students (AOR=1.82, 95% CI: 1.06 - 3.13) and cigarette smokers (AOR=5.081; 95%CI, 1.9 -13.6) were more likely exposed to khat chewing than lower grade and non-cigarette smokers, respectively. Furthermore, students who had khat chewer close friends were 58% less likely exposed to khat chewing than students who did not have khat chewer friends (AOR= 0.42, 95%CI:0.22 -0.79). This study revealed that alcohol users were 5.6 times more likely exposed to khat chowing than nonalcoholic participants (AOR = 5.9, 95%CI:2.46 - 14.16).
The impact of khat chewing should be continuously raised, and counseling services should be advised, as a significant percentage of students were discovered to be engaged in this behavior. 


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