Iron deficiency is a dominant source of anaemia in many settings. To evaluate the key cause of anaemia in the study area, the prevalence of anaemia due to major public health diseases was compared with anaemia due to iron deficiency.
Pregnant women were recruited from ante-natal (n=490) and HIV clinics (n=217) with their personal data documented using a questionnaire. Microscopy of Giemsa-stained thick smears was used for detection of malaria parasites while helminths in stools were detected using direct smear method. Haematocrit values were determined by capillary method. Serum ferritin levels were determined using enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. Data was analysed using SPSS version 22.0.
The mean age of the recruited women was 28.6±5.4 years old. There were 68.1% cases of anaemia of which 35.5% was due to infections only predominantly HIV and malaria, 14.9% from unknown sources while anaemia due to iron deficiency only was 7.1%.
It can safely be inferred that malaria and HIV predispose to anaemia than iron deficiency in the study area. Although pregnant women are dewormed and given IPTp for helminths and malaria treatment respectively, there should be complementary routine malaria screening at ANC visits for those with HCT values <33% and those infected with HIV.