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Prevalence of iron deficiency anaemia in anaemic under-5 children in Enugu South East Nigeria

U Ekwochi
DIC Osuorah
OI Odetunde
I Egbonu
CC Ezechukwu


Background: Iron deficiency anaemia has been described as the commonest type of nutritional anaemia in infancy and childhood. The associated adverse health sequelae include permanent behavioural and cognitive impairments. Early detection and prompt treatment are necessary to prevent these complications.
Aim: To determine the prevalence and socio-demographic distribution of iron deficiency anaemia among anaemic under five children in Enugu.
Subjects and methods: Under-five children presenting at a tertiary hospital were consecutively enrolled and screened for iron deficiency anaemia using haematocrit and serum ferritin levels. Iron deficiency anaemia was defined as haematocrit level <30% and ferritin level <12ng/ml.
Results: Three hundred and twelve children (187 males, 125 females) aged below 60 months had a PCV check out of which 178 (57.1%) were anaemic (PCV< 30%). Of the anaemic group, 61(34.3%) had iron deficiency anaemia. Prevalence of iron deficiency anaemia was higher among the males (38.0%) [p=0.235], age group 13- 23months (40.0%) [p=0.575] and children from lower socioeconomic class (43.5%)[p=0.158]. There is a positive but weak correlation between serum ferritin and haematocrit levels [r= 0.11 p=0.130].
Conclusion: The prevalence of iron deficiency anaemia in the study population was high and varies with the child’s age group, gender and parental socioeconomic class.

Keywords: iron deficiency anaemia, serum ferritin, haemtocrit, Enugu.