Prevalence and factors associated with anaemia among preterm and low birth weight infants under 6 months attending the preterm clinic at mulago hospital
Kaahwa, Michael Steven
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Background: There are 15 million babies born prematurely across the globe with a greater majority of these preterm births occurring in Africa and South Asia. Uganda ranks 13th out of 184 countries for the highest number of babies born prematurely. Over 1 million preterm infants die due to complications of prematurity, anaemia inclusive. There are many factors that influence the development and/or persistence of anaemia in preterm infants but little is known about them in Uganda. We therefore determined the prevalence and factors associated with anaemia among preterm and low birth weight infants under 6 months attending the preterm clinic at Mulago hospital Methods: This was a cross- sectional study of 289 preterm/ low birth weight (LBW) infants below 6 months and their mothers/ guardians that attended the preterm clinic in Mulago hospital. Data was collected on infant and maternal variables. Infants with a hemoglobin less than 11.0g/dl were considered to have anaemia. Modified Poisson regression was used to explore factors associated with anaemia. At multivariate analysis, statistical significance was considered when p value was ≤ 0.05. Results: The prevalence of anaemia was high- 218/289 (75.4%). It was slightly higher in females 119/151 (78.8%) compared to the males 99/138 (71.7%). The prevalence of anaemia increased with decreasing birth weight; very low birth weight (VLBW) 77/91 (84.6%) versus LBW 140/197 (71.1%) while it decreased with increasing discharge weight < 1500g 103/121 (85.1%) versus 1500g to <2500g 79/118 (66.9%). Factors significantly associated with anaemia were infant’s discharge weight less than 1500g (Adjusted PR: 1.18 (1.01-1.37), p=0.041) and a hospital stay of more than 7 days (Adjusted PR: 1.36(1.02-1.82), p=0.037). Conclusion: There is a high prevalence of anaemia among Preterm and LBW infants below 6 months of age. Infants with a weight at discharge of less than 1500g and those that are admitted for more than 7 days immediately after birth are at an increased risk of anaemia.