Prevalence and factors associated with anaemia among children aged 6 to 59 months in Namutumba district, Uganda
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Anaemia is one of the major causes of deaths among children under five years in Uganda where 50% of children under five years have anaemia. Childhood anaemia has both short and long term adverse consequences if not attended to including growth retardation, weak immune system, reduced work performance and increased mortality rate. Namutumba district has frequent episodes of malnutrition and was suspected to have a high prevalence of anaemia. Objective(s) The objective of the study was to assess the prevalence and factors associated with anaemia among children aged 6 to 59 months in Namutumba district. Methodology A community based household cross sectional study was conducted in 376 randomly selected households. Multistage cluster sampling was used; one child aged 6 to 59 months was randomly sampled from each selected household. A household questionnaire administered to an adult respondent was used to collect household data. Blood was collected from finger or heel prick to estimate haemoglobin level using a portable haemocue 301 analyser. Anthropometric data including age, weight and height was collected for each child sampled. Data was analysed using STATA 12.0. A modified poisson regression model was used to determine associations and prevalence ratios and their 95% CI were the measure of association. Results The prevalence of anaemia among children 6 to 59 months was 58.8%. Anaemia was most prevalent (68.5%) among children aged 12 to 23 months the prevalence of anaemia among male children was 61.3% while it was 56.3% among female children. Children resident in Magada and Namutumba sub-counties were less likely to become anaemic compared to those resident in Bulange sub-county (APR= 0.90; 95% CI: 0.827-0.981; p= 0.016 and APR= 0.86; 95% CI: 0.793-0.939; p= 0.001 respectively). Respondents’ with a high education level and average number (4-6) children were less likely to have anaemic children (APR=0.89; 95% CI: 0.812-0.984; p=0.023; APR= 0.91; 95% CI: 0.837-0.997; p=0.029 respectively). Stunting (HAZ scores) was a predictor of anaemia (APR= 1.08; 95% CI: 1.008-1.148; p=0.027). xii Conclusion and recommendations The prevalence of anaemia among children aged 6 to 59 months in Namutumba District was high at, 58.8%. There is need for the district health office to invest in routine screening for anaemia among children integrating it with other health care services at community level especially in Bulange sub-county. In order to curb the problem, there is need to address anaemia during the mild and moderate stages which may become fatal when other illnesses set in. It is important for the Ministry of Health in Uganda to strengthen the food fortification strategy (especially fortifying foods with iron) and roll it out at district level. Namutumba District health office needs to establish community sensitization on how to prevent childhood anaemia paying special attention to the uneducated mothers.