Association of malaria and anaemia in under five children in a rural general hospital in northern Nigeria
Background: Anaemia is a major public health problem and contributes significantly to morbidity and mortality particularly in children under five. In endemic areas, malaria is a major contributor to its evolution. This study aimed to determine the association of malaria and anaemia in under five children presenting with fever.
Methods: Records of under five children that presented with fever in Mani General Hospital for the period June 2012 to May 2013 were reviewed and relevant data extracted and analyzed.
Results: There were 411 children aged 6- 59 months that presented with fever and had malaria parasite test and packed cell volume (PCV) done as part of their initial investigation. Median age was 24 months (range 6-54) and 33.3% of the children belonged to the 12 to 23 months age group. A great majority the children had anaemia (87.1%) and malaria parasitemia (88.1%). Severe anaemia (PCV<21%) was found in 26% of the children. There was a statistically significant relationship between anaemia and malaria parasitemia (p=0.01) but none with sex or age group of the children.
Conclusion: This study has shown a high prevalence of anaemia among febrile children and brings to light the need for urgent interventions including the need for attending clinicians to always screen for anaemia when evaluating febrile children to ensure prompt identification and treatment.
Key words: Anaemia, fever, malaria, under five children