Research Article: Mapping the Risk of Anaemia in Preschool-Age Children: The Contribution of Malnutrition, Malaria, and Helminth Infections in West Africa

Date Published: June 7, 2011

Publisher: Public Library of Science

Author(s): Ricardo J. Soares Magalhães, Archie C. A. Clements, Abdisalan M. Noor

Abstract: Ricardo Soares Magalhães and colleagues used national cross-sectional household-based demographic health surveys to map the distribution of anemia risk in preschool children in Burkina Faso, Ghana, and Mali.

Partial Text: The most up-to-date global estimates of childhood anaemia indicate that 293.1 million children aged <5 y are anaemic worldwide, and 28.5% of those are located in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) [1]. Childhood anaemia is considered a severe public health problem in SSA, reaching 67% prevalence, or 83.5 million children, in the region [1]. Anaemia in infancy and childhood is associated with reduced cognitive development [2], growth [3], immune function [4], and survival. This study presents new cartographic resources that shed new light on the ranking of anaemia prevalence and anaemia severity within the countries studied by depicting important sub-national geographical heterogeneities, representing an added value over and above what could be achieved directly from national-level summary statistics of the DHS data alone. The approach addresses important operational constraints for anaemia control in the African continent, and the resulting maps could provide the next step needed for efficient and effective anaemia control in preschool children in the following ways. First, they could be used by national programme managers as decision-support tools for targeting the delivery of ancillary micronutrient supplementation and fortified food, with the aim of reducing iron-deficiency anaemia. Second, empirical maps of anaemia in this age group would allow the identification of subgroups where the secondary effects of micronutrient supplementation could be minimised. For example, the main concern about iron supplementation is the fact that it has been linked to increased severity of infectious disease in the presence of malaria and/or undernutrition in preschool children [24]. Finally, anaemia maps would allow the monitoring and evaluation of the impact of anaemia control programmes and, in the case of severe anaemia, planning resource allocation to combat life-threatening anaemia [37]. Source: http://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1000438

 

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