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The prevalence of malnutrition, anaemia and malaria amongst under 5-year-old children with sickle cell disease admitted at a Referral Hospital in western Kenya

C.P.A. Auma
E. J. Owino


Background and objectives: Sickle cell disease (SCD) is a common autosomal recessive haemoglobinopathy disproportionately affecting Sub-Saharan Africa leading to early childhood mortality. The study set out to assess the nutritional status, presence of anaemia and malaria, medication use and health seeking behaviour of children under five years with SCD.
Methods and study design: A cross-sectional study of 15 children with S.C.D presenting at Jaramogi Oginga Odinga Teaching and Referral Hospital (JOOTRH). Data gathered from questionnaires were analysed using Statistical Packages for Social Sciences (SPSS) version 23.
Results: Fifteen children, mean age 3.22 years (average age at SCD diagnosis 1.62 years) participated in the study. 20% of them had severe acute malnutrition, all were anaemic with an average haemoglobin level of 7.1 ± 1.59 g/dl. Only 26.7% of them were diagnosed with malaria. All the children, 100% were on folate and proguanil with 60% being on penicillin V prophylaxis and 46.7% on hydroxyurea. Most, 80% of the children were enrolled in a SCD clinic. Health professionals were the major source of information on SCD (100%) followed by radio 60%. A majority, 93.3% of the respondents wanted to have more information on SCD
Conclusions and recommendations: Sicklers are predisposed to malnutrition disorders thus their growth and nutritional status should be regularly assessed as part of comprehensive care. Newborn screening and oral prophylactic penicillin use should be encouraged in reducing childhood morbidity. Health professionals should leverage their popularity as the major source of information on SCD, to continue counselling guardians on SCD and encourage drug adherence.

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eISSN: 0012-835X