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Prevalence of anemia and associated factors among school children in Gondar town public primary schools, northwest Ethiopia: A school-based cross-sectional study

Prevalence of anemia and associated factors among school children in Gondar town public primary schools, northwest Ethiopia: A school-based cross-sectional study

Plos one 12(12): E0190151

ISSN/ISBN: 1932-6203

PMID: 29284032

DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0190151

Anemia is a global public health problem affecting 305 million school children (SC) worldwide. It has deleterious effects in SC, including lower school achievement due to impaired cognitive development and physical growth, fatigue and poor attention span, and increased morbidity because of reduced resistance to infection. Hence, the aim of this study was to assess the prevalence and associated factors of anemia among SC attending public primary schools in Gondar town, northwest Ethiopia. A school-based cross sectional study was conducted on a total of 523 SC aged from 6-14 years old. Multi-stage sampling followed by systematic random sampling techniques were employed to select study participants. Data on socio-demographic and socio-economic characteristics, and dietary status of children were collected using pre-tested structured questionnaire through face-to-face interview of children's caregivers. Anthropometric measurements were taken. Hemoglobin (Hb) concentration was determined by using HemoCue 301+analyser. Stool and blood samples were collected in the school premises, and examined for intestinal and hemoparasites, respectively. Data were entered into Epi Info version 3.5.3 and transferred to SPSS version 20 for analysis. Bivariate and multivariate binary logistic regression models were fitted to identify associated factors of anemia. P-value < 0.05 was considered as statistically significant. Of the total SC participated in the study, 269 (51.4%) were males. The median (inter quartile range (IQR)) age was 12 (10-13) years, and 332 (63.5%) of them were in the age group 11-14 years. About 81 (15.5%; 95%CI: 12.4%, 18.7%) of them were anemic: 56 (69.1%) and 25 (38.9%) of them were mildly and moderately anemic, respectively. Low maternal education (AOR = 2.30; 95%CI: 1.11, 4.78), stunting (AOR = 2.22; 95%CI: 1.30, 3.80), severe food insecurity (AOR = 5.11; 95%CI: 1.53, 17.13), and soil-transmitted helminthic (STH) infection (AOR = 7.13; 95%CI: 3.16, 16.86) were found significantly associated with anemia. Anemia among SC was found to be a mild public health problem. It was strongly associated with low maternal education, food insecurity, stunting and intestinal helminthic infection. Focused policies and strategies towards the above factors should be designed to reduce anemia among SC.

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