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Citation Information

Type Journal Article - Food and Nutrition Bulletin
Title Prevalence of iron deficiency and iron deficiency anemia in the Northern and Southern provinces of Rwanda
Author(s)
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2017
Page numbers 0379572117723134
URL http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/0379572117723134
Abstract
Background:
Anemia remains a public health problem in Rwanda, affecting 38% of young children and 17% of reproductive-aged women (Demographic and Health Survey [DHS] 2010). The importance of iron deficiency (ID) as a cause of anemia in Rwanda is not known.

Objective:
We aimed to estimate the prevalence of ID and iron deficiency anemia (IDA) among young children and women in 2 provinces of Rwanda.

Methods:
We conducted a cluster randomized survey, selecting 408 rural households each in the Northern and Southern Provinces of Rwanda in 2010. Anemia was defined as hemoglobin <110 g/L in children and <120 g/L in nonpregnant women after correction for altitude. We defined ID as (1) serum transferrin receptor (TfR) >8.3 mg/L or (2) serum ferritin (SF) <12 μg/L in children and <15 μg/L in nonpregnant women after correction for inflammation.

Results:
The prevalence of anemia was 30.9% (95% confidence interval [CI], 26.4-35.8) in children (n = 577) and 11.2% (95% CI, 8.4-14.7) in women (n = 595). The prevalence of ID in children was 3.1% (95% CI, 1.8-5.1) as defined by high TfR and 5.9% (95% CI, 4.0-8.4) as defined by low SF. Similarly, 3.0% (95% CI, 1.8-4.8) of women had high TfR and 4.8% (95% CI, 3.2-7.2) had low SF. The prevalence of IDA (low SF with concurrent anemia) ranged from 1.4% (95% CI, 0.5-3.6) among women in the North to 5.6% (95% CI, 3.1-10.0) among children in the South.

Conclusions:
ID is likely not an important contributor to anemia in the Northern and Southern Provinces of Rwanda. This finding warrants further investigation into other causes of anemia.

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