Anaemia is a public health problem affecting over 1.62 billion people globally. It affects all age groups of people and is particularly more prevalent in pregnant women. Africa carries a high burden of anaemia; in Uganda 24 % of women of child bearing age have anaemia. Pregnant women living in poverty are at greater risk of developing iron deficiency anaemia. The objective of this study was to determine the prevalence of anaemia and the associated risk factors in pregnant women attending antenatal care at Gulu and Hoima Regional Hospitals in Northern and Western Uganda respectively.
We conducted a cross sectional study in Gulu and Hoima Regional Hospitals from July to October 2012. Our study participants were pregnant women attending antenatal care. Socio-demographic data were collected using structured questionnaires and blood samples were collected for haemoglobin estimation. Haemoglobin concentration was determined using an automated analyzer closed mode of blood sampling. Data were analysed using Stata version 12. Odds ratio was used as a measure of association, with 95 % confidence interval; and independent risk factors for anaemia were investigated using logistic regression analyses. Ethical approval was obtained from Gulu University Research Ethics Committee and written informed consent was obtained from each study participant.
The overall prevalence of anaemia was 22.1 %; higher in Gulu (32.9 %) than in Hoima (12.1 %), p < 0.001. In Gulu, the prevalence of mild anaemia was 23 %, moderate anaemia was 9 %, and severe anaemia was 0.8 %, while in Hoima, the prevalence of mild anaemia was 9 %, moderate anaemia was 2.5 %, and severe anaemia was 0.5 %. Independent risk factors for anaemia were: being a housewife [Adjusted Odds Ratio (AOR) = 1.7, 95 % CI: 1.05–2.68]; and being a resident in Gulu (AOR = 3.6, 95 % CI: 2.41–5.58).
The prevalence of anaemia in pregnant women in Gulu is higher than in Hoima. Amongst pregnancy women, being a housewife is an independent risk factor for anaemia. Greater efforts are required to encourage early antenatal attendance from women in these at risk groups. This would allow iron and folic acid supplementation during pregnancy, which would potentially reduce the prevalence of anaemia.
Financed by the National Centre for Research and Development under grant No. SP/I/1/77065/10 by the strategic scientific research and experimental development program:
SYNAT - “Interdisciplinary System for Interactive Scientific and Scientific-Technical Information”.