Factors associated with anaemia status and haemoglobin concentrations in infants 6-11 months in Mbala District, Northern Province, Zambia
This paper presents information on the factors associated with anaemia status and haemoglobin concentrations in infants 6-11 months old in Mbala District, Northern Province, Zambia. The information is drawn from the baseline data collection of a study involving 631 caregiver-child pairs. The data presented here includes anthropometry, malaria parasitism, concentrations of haemoglobin (Hb) and serum transferrin receptor (STfR), and information on household characteristics, infant and young child feeding (IYCF) practices, and morbidity, gathered via questionnaire. It was found that 57% of the sample was anaemic (Hb < 110 g/L), 93% was iron deficient (STfR > 8.3 mg/L) and 53% had iron deficiency anaemia. Overall, 30% of the infants in the sample were stunted, 2% were wasted, and 16% were underweight, and 22%, 56% and 18% of infants were meeting minimum dietary diversity, minimum meal frequency, and minimum acceptable diet, respectively, and 28% consumed iron rich foods in the previous 24 hours. Infants who had achieved a minimum dietary diversity score (OR = 0.44; 95% CI: 0.30-0.65), who had consumed iron rich foods in the previous 24 hours (OR = 0.56; 95% CI: 0.40-0.80), or were female (OR = 0.69; 95% CI: 0.50-0.94), had significantly lower risks of being anaemic. Infants that tested positive for malaria parasitism (OR = 4.33; 95% CI: 2.16- 8.70), as well as those having a fever (OR = 1.88; 95% CI: 1.36-2.59) in the previous two weeks had significantly greater odds of being anaemic. Despite these associations, whether or not a child slept under a mosquito net was not related to their risk of being anaemic. Infants in households that treated their water to make it safer to consume had average haemoglobin concentrations 3 g/L higher than those who did not (p = 0.021), but this did not translate into a significant difference in the odds of being anaemic. These results shed light on the specific causes of anaemia in the Zambian context, and illustrate the importance of improving dietary quality, specifically the intake of iron, and reducing the prevalence of diseases including malaria in order to reduce the prevalence of anaemia.
Keywords: Nutritional status, Zambia, anaemia, iron deficiency, malaria, serum transferrin receptor, haemoglobin
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