Hemoglobin status and its association with age in children under five years in the Central Region of Uganda.
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Background: The hemoglobin concentration is widely used as an aid in assessment of state of health. A sound factual basis is therefore necessary for establishing the trend of hemoglobin values its relation to age. WHO estimates the number of anemic people worldwide to be a staggering two billion and that approximately 50%of the entire anemia can be attributed to iron deficiency. In Uganda, it’s estimated that 73% of the children aged 6-59 months are believed to be anemic which poses a serious health concern and requires evidenced- based data to repackage the primary health care package to control anemia. The regulation of iron metabolism seems to be subjected to developmental changes during infancy, although the exact nature of these changes and their implications are not fully understood in Uganda. Objective: The overall objective of this study was to determine the hemoglobin status and its association with age in children below the age of five. Methods: We wanted to explore the association between hemoglobin status and age including other indicators such as parasitemia nutrition, and to assess temporal changes in these variables. This was done by secondary analysis of data from a survey carried out in eight districts in the central region of Uganda namely Wakiso, Mpigi, Masaka between January and March 2010. The survey involved the use of probability proportionate to size technique to determine total number of households to be interviewed. Results: The prevalence of anemia among children under five year in the central region was 28.6 %( 95% CI 25.7% - 30.9%). The prevalence was indicated highest (43%) in children age 0 -24 months. The prevalence of malaria related anemia was 50.2%. Age was strongly associated with anemia (F = 4.52, df = 59 , p < 0.001).Severe anemia was reported in the lower age bracket of 0 -24 months. Anemia was found to be decreasing with increasing age and with children between 0-24 months being affected most. Nutrition indicator were found be weakly associated to the anemia present in the children Conclusion: Our study results showed the prevalence of anemia being high at 28.3% as reported in other studies and 50.2% of this was related to parasitemia. Anemia was found to affect children in the lower age groups in the breast feeding mode of feeding. Although anemia was found to decrease with increasing age of the children in Central Uganda region, it remains a major public health problem. Strategies to decrease the prevalence of anemia in young children need to be developed in this area.