|Type||Journal Article - Food and Nutrition Bulletin|
|Title||Prevalence of iron deficiency and iron deficiency anemia in the Northern and Southern provinces of Rwanda|
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.
We aimed to estimate the prevalence of ID and iron deficiency anemia (IDA) among young children and women in 2 provinces of Rwanda.
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.
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.
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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