Anaemia in pregnant women in eastern Caprivi, Namibia.S Afr Med J. 1997 Nov; 87(11):1544-7.SA
To describe the prevalence, character and possible aetiology of anaemia in the study region.
A cross-sectional study involving a lifestyle and dietary questionnaire, a clinical examination and an analysis of blood and stool samples.
Katima Mulilo antenatal clinic, East Caprivi, Namibia.
171 pregnant women attending the clinic in September 1995.
MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES
Effects on haemoglobin concentration of age, trimester, parity, residential area, sociodemographic factors, malaria, parasites, geophagy, diet, cooking pot used, vitamin and mineral supplementation and malaria prophylaxis.
41.5% of the women were found to be anaemic (haemoglobin < 11 g/dl) and there was a significant risk of their being iron-deficient (P = 0.01). Three maternal characteristics were found to have a significant effect on a woman's risk of anaemia: urban residence (P < 0.05), geophagy (P < 0.01) and the taking of prophylactic chloroquine (P < 0.05).
Mild anaemia affects a large proportion of the pregnant women in East Caprivi; severe anaemia (< 7 g/dl) is not common. The picture is predominantly one of iron deficiency, possibly complicated by concomitant folate deficiency. There is no single easily identifiable cause of this anaemia; it appears to have a multifactorial aetiology. Further studies on the effect of the current malaria prophylaxis programme are warranted.