Anemia is a global public health problem associated with increased mortality and morbidity. The cause of anemia in school-age children is multifactorial and has been associated with delayed psychomotor development, poor cognitive performance, impaired immunity and decrease working capacity. The aim of this study was to determine the magnitude, severity and determinant factors of anemia among school-age children (5-15 years) in Pawe Town, Northwest Ethiopia.
A community based cross-sectional study was conducted from March 20 to June 19, 2015 in Pawe Town. A total of 422 school-age children were included in this study. Sociodemographic and related data were collected using structured questionnaire. Anthropometric data were collected from each study participant. Hemoglobin concentration was measured using HemoCue® Hb 201+ System (HemoCue, Angelholm, Sweden). Blood film for malaria diagnoses and stool examination for intestinal parasites were also performed. Data were analyzed using SPSS version 20.0.
The overall prevalence of anemia among school-age children was 33.9%. Mothers' illiteracy (AOR=7.5, 95% CI: 2.6-16.3), being from a family with low income (AOR=4.8, 95% CI: 1.3-10.9), being stunted (AOR=7.1, 95% CI: 2.9-11.9), being underweight (AOR=5.3, 95% CI: 2.1-13.3), infection with intestinal parasites (AOR=5.2, 95% CI: 2.1-12.6), and malaria infection (AOR=8.2, 95% CI: 1.8-14.5) were identified as associated factors of anemia.
In this study, anemia is a moderate public health problem among school-age children. School health strategies and interventions targeting nutritional deficiencies and parasitic infections might be very important.