PREVALENCE OF ANAEMIA,IRON DEFICIENCY AND IRON DEFICIENCY ANAEMIA IN NINE MONTH OLD INFANTS ATTENDING WELL CHILD CLINIC IN NAIROBI.

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Background
Iron deficiency is the most common micronutrient deficiency worldwide, with the highest prevalence found in developing countries. Consequences of iron deficiency include developmental delay, behavioural disturbances, growth retardation, increased susceptibility to infection, lead poisoning and poor response to iodine prophylaxis. There is very little local data on prevalence of iron deficiency with or without anaemia in an urban setting. In addition there is no national programme for screening for anaemia, iron deficiency and iron deficiency anaemia in infants.

Objectives
The primary objective of this study was to determine the prevalence of anaemia, iron deficiency and iron deficiency anaemia in nine month old infants attending immunization clinic. Secondary objectives were to determine the association between these parameters and developmental status and dietary habits.

Study design
This was a cross sectional descriptive study carried out over a five month period (4th August 2008 to 27th January 2009).

Setting
Immunization clinics in Kenyatta National Hospital, Riruta and Waithaka health centers. These health facilities all lie within the Nairobi west district, Nairobi province.

Subjects
Nine month old infants

Results
Overall 23 children (6.2%) were classified as normal, 175(47.2%) had iron deficiency, 127 (34.2%) iron deficiency anaemia and 46(12.4%) anaemia due to other causes. This means that 81.4 % (302) of the study population was iron deficient and 46.6% (173) was anaemic. Iron deficiency was the most common cause of anaemia in the population studied accounting for 74% of all causes. Amongst the population which had iron deficiency (n=302), 42.1% had developed iron deficiency anaemia. Diet and psychomotor development were not associated with anaemia and iron status.

Conclusion
There is a high prevalence of iron deficiency and iron deficiency anaemia in the population studied. In addition, iron deficiency anaemia is the most common type of anaemia. There is need for universal provision of iron in the population studied.