Introduction: pregnancy during the adolescent period is challenging mainly because of the nutritional demands of both the adolescent and pregnancy period. The risk for anaemia increases especially in developing countries such as Ghana where malaria is endemic and the practice of pica is common. In this study, we sought to determine the prevalence of anaemia, pica practice and malaria infection among pregnant adolescent girls and assess the extent to which these factors are associated. Methods: two hundred and sixty five (265) pregnant adolescent girls were recruited from three hospitals in Accra. Haemoglobin levels, malaria infection and the practice of pica were assessed. Pearson’s Chi squared tests were used to determine associations and logistic regression analysis was used to determine the odds of being anaemic. Significance was set at p≤0.05. Results: anaemia prevalence was 76% with severity ranging from mild (47.8%) to severe (0.8%). About 27.5% were moderately anaemic. Pica was practiced in only 9.1% of the girls. Malaria infection was prevalent in 17.7% of the girls. The logistic regression analysis indicated that pregnant girls with malaria infection were 3.56 times more likely to be anaemic when compared to those without malaria. Also, those who practiced pica were 1.23 times more likely to be anaemic when compared to those who did not practice pica. Conclusion: anaemia is very prevalent in pregnant adolescent girls and is a public health problem. Drastic measures should be taken to reduce the high prevalence.
The Pan African Medical Journal 2016;24