Assessment of iron status among preschool children (6 to 59 months) with and without malaria in Western Province, Kenya
Introduction: iron deficiency is a major public health concern. Globally, iron deficiency ranks number 9 and is responsible for about 60% of all anemia cases among preschool children. In Africa iron deficiency is 43-52% while in Kenya, children under 5 years constitute the largest burden with 69% of them being deficient. There is limited iron deficiency data in Kenya. This study determined haemoglobin levels, serum ferritin levels, nutritional status and P.falciparum malaria infection in preschool children.
Methods: a household cross sectional study was undertaken among 125 preschoolers in Western province, drawn from 37 clusters. Systematic random sampling was used for sample selection. Data was collected using pretested structured questionnaires, entered in Microsoft package. Data analysis was done in Statistical package for social science (SPSS) version 20 using bivariate and multivariate logistic regression and differences were considered significant at P < 0.05.
Results: the prevalence of iron deficiency (Serum ferritin <12mg/l), anaemia (Hb<110g/l) and plasmodium falciparum malaria were 20.8%, 25% and 6.8% respectively. There was a significant association between iron deficiency and anaemia (OR=3.43, 95% CI: 1.33-8.84, p=0.008). A preschool child with anaemia was 3.43 times likely to be iron deficient compared to a preschool child who was not anaemic.
Conclusion: iron deficiency, anaemia and plasmodium falciparum malaria was prevalent among preschool children. The findings revealed a significant association between iron deficiency and anaemia. Therefore effective interventions to improve iron status will have large health benefits by greatly reducing anaemia in preschool children.