Malaria and nutritional status in children living in the East Usambara
A cross-sectional survey was conducted in Kwelumbizi and Shambangeda villages, in the East Usambara Mountains, in north-east Tanzania, to determine the prevalence of malaria parasitaemia and nutritional status in children ≤ 11 years old. In addition, knowledge and practice on malaria among the households were determined using questionnaires and focus group discussions. The results showed that prevalence of malaria (48.5 - 51.0%) and parasite density levels was similar in both villages. A significantly higher malaria prevalence was observed in children ≥ 5 years old than in the < 5 years old (P=0.01). This correlated with the higher spleen rate in the same age group (P=0.022). However, higher anaemia prevalence (both severe and moderate), lower haemoglobin levels were found in children < 5 years old. There was no variation in most of the clinical history/symptoms among children with malaria in the two villages. However, coughing (P=0.014) was frequently observed among children in Shambangeda. The use of mosquito nets was more common among the residents of Shambangeda than Kwelumbizi (P=0.001). Children ≥ 5 years old were significantly malnourished in all levels of measurement. Wasting was more frequently observed among females in the < 5year old while stunting and underweight were more observed among males in all age groups. Malaria, anaemia and malnutrition are prevalent in the East Usambara Mountains. Efforts to address these conditions are urgently needed.
Keywords: malaria, anaemia, nutritional status, children, Tanzania
Tanzania Health Research Bulletin Vol. 8 (2) 2006: pp. 56-61