Anaemia status in children aged 6-59 months attending Hoima Regional Referral Hospital
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Background: Anaemia is one of the major causes of death among children under five years in Africa, with a prevalence of 64.6% among pre-school children. This study was conducted in Hoima Regional Referral Hospital in mid-western Uganda to determine the prevalence and risk factors associated with anaemia among children aged 6 to 59 months. Methods: A total of 100 children aged between 6 to 59 months were enrolled. Venous blood samples were collected by finger or heel prick to estimate the haemoglobin level using a haemocue analyser. Anthropometric data including age, weight and height was collected for each child. A structured questionnaire was administered to the mother or an adult caregiver to collect household data. Ethical approval was sought and granted by the hospital director. Anaemia cut-off points were defined according to World Health Organization (WHO) standards for children aged 6–59 months. Data was analyzed using GEN STAT computer package. All correlations were run to assess how all the variables relate over time. Descriptive summary statistics such as frequencies, means, medians and standard deviations were used to describe the characteristics of the study population. Inferential statistics such as odds ratio, confidence interval, and p-value were used to determine the association between variables. Results: The prevalence of anaemia was high (83.0%) and was highest among children aged 37 to 59 months (100%) and females (92.3%).females were 1.3 times more prevalent than their male counterparts. Children aged 37 to 59 and 25 to 36 months were more likely to be anaemic poverty, lack access to cheap food, lack cooking skills and equipment, comprised maternal level of education, poor dietary diversity, anti-nutrient intake, child birth order, maternal parity, mother’s age, child’s age, and other infections like malaria among others were significantly associated with anaemia. Young mothers generally have challenges with child care due to limited resources and experience with child care and their children were more susceptible to anaemia thus poorer health outcomes than those children from older and more experienced mothers. Conclusion: Anaemia is highly prevalent among children and there is a need to invest in measures such as promoting maternal health, providing mothers with information about anaemia and a balanced diet, routine screening and management of anaemia may help in controlling anaemia incidence, especially among children 37 to 59 months. Anaemia intervention programmes in children under five years should target younger and unemployed mothers as well as intensification of maternal education on good dietary diversity for children.