Anaemia among clinically well under-fives attending a community health centre in Venda, Limpopo Province
Design. A cross-sectional observational study was carried out in June and July 2007. Caregivers participated in a brief interview where demographic, health, and nutritional information was collected. A blood sample was collected from each child, and haemoglobin levels were assessed with a point-of-care haemoglobin testing system. Anaemia was defined as having a haemoglobin value <2 standard deviations below age-altitude adjusted normal values.
Results. Three-quarters (39/52 – 75%) of children were anaemic. Girls were significantly more likely to be anaemic than boys (20/20 v. 19/32 respectively; p=0.001). Anaemic children were significantly less likely to be underweight compared with their peers (32/38 v. 5/12 respectively; p=0.007). There was no significant association between anaemia and infection with Helicobacter pylori (p=0.729), intestinal helminths (p=1.000) or food insecurity (p=0.515).
Conclusion. We found a striking prevalence of anaemia among clinically well children <5 years old in Thohoyandou, Limpopo Province. The rates of anaemia were higher than those found in previous studies conducted in similar settings in South Africa. Future work should focus on aetiologies and interventions.
James Heckman, Univeristy of Virginia School of Medicine
Amidou Samie, Department of University of Venda
Pascal Bessong, University of Venda
Mmboniseni Ntsieni, University of Venda
Hassan Hamandi, University of Virginia School of Medicine
Matthew Kohler, University of Virginia School of Medicine
Benjamin Milam, University of Virginia School of Medicine
Jessica Scriver, University of Virginia School of Medcine
Rebecca Dillingham, University of Virginia School of Medicine
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Date published: 2010-07-05
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