A cross-sectional survey on the prevalence of anaemia and malnutrition in primary school children in the Tiko Health District, Cameroon
Introduction: anaemia and malnutrition are common health problems in developing countries with children being the most vulnerable. They have negative impacts on human performance, growth and development, in children, both as cause and consequences of disease. Although annual mass deworming and nutrition supplement strategies have been implemented in the Tiko Health District (THD), no study has been carried out to determine the prevalence of anaemia and malnutrition. The aim of this study was therefore designed to determine the prevalence of anaemia and malnutrition among primary school children aged 5-15 years in the Tiko Health District.
Methods: a cross-sectional study was carried out in 10 randomly selected schools in the THD and a total of 400 school children were enrolled in the study. Body weight and height were measured using an electronic weighing scale and stadiometer respectively. Anthropometric indices: Height-for-Age Z scores (HAZ), Weight-for-Age Z scores (WAZ) and Body Mass Index-for-Age Z scores (BMIAZ) were analyzed and compared with WHO Growth Reference Standards using WHO Anthroplus software. Hemoglobin levels were determined using Urit-12 Haemoglobinometer and anaemia defined as Hemoglobin (Hb) < 11g/dl. Data analysis was done using the SPSS software.
Results: the overall prevalence of malnutrition was 9.25%, prevalence of stunting 7.5% with 0.8% being severely stunted. The prevalence of wasting was 1% and underweight 0.7%. The overall prevalence of anaemia was 5%. Parents occupation and the absence of toilet were statistically associated with anaemia (P = 0.04 and P = 0.003). Age, floor type, absence of toilet and BMI were significantly associated with malnutrition (P = 0.00, P = 0.01, P = 0.02 and P = 0.003).
Conclusion: this study revealed a low prevalence of malnutrition and anaemia which could be attributed to the deworming and nutrition supplement strategies which have been implemented.