Association between anaemia and infections (HIV, malaria and hookworm) among Children admitted at Muhimbili National Hospital
Objective: Anaemia is the major cause of morbidity and mortality in paediatric age with much aetiology. The magnitude of childhood anaemia has been inadequately studied at Muhimbili National Hospital (MNH). The study was aimed at determining the frequency of anaemia and associated infections in patients admitted in general paediatric wards at MNH in Dar es Salaam.
Methods: Study design: This was a descriptive cross -sectional study. Study setting: This was conducted at MNH in general paediatric wards from 20th August, 2009 to 15th December, 2009. Subjects: Patients, aged 1- 84 months, consecutively admitted were recruited in the study. After informed verbal consent from the guardian or parent was obtained, information on demographic and clinical characteristics was collected from the parent or guardian. Physical examination and laboratory tests on blood ; stool samples for hookworm screening; blood slides for malaria parasites; Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) screening; and blood peripheral smears were done on all subjects. Additional information was taken from medical files. Data management: The prevalence of anemia was determined as a percentage of all paediatric patients recruited during the time of data collection. All information was recorded using questionnaires and analysis was done using SPSS version 13.0. A p value of < 0.05 was considered statistically significant.
Results: A total of 315 children were assessed. The frequency of anaemia was 79.4%. This is much higher than the WHO prevalence of 67.6% in Africa for anaemia to be taken as a disease of public health importance. The proportion of malaria was 7.9%, HIV seropositive was 10.2% and hookworm was 1.0% of all admissions. There was an increased risk of anaemia in patients with HIV seropositive and or malaria although this was not statistically significant (RR > 1.0, p > 0.05).
Conclusion: Anaemia in paediatric patients admitted at MNH is a disease of high public health importance in Dar es Salaam and may well carry a high burden in the rest of the country. Other risk factors of anaemia should be investigated with a goal of reducing the burden of anaemia.
Key words: Prevalence and associated factors, anaemia, Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV), malaria, hookworm, under-five children