Determinants of anemia among pregnant women in Kiboga District
Naziwa, Ann Marjorie Mbule
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Background: In spite of the various intervention efforts, Uganda, like other developing countries, is plagued by high levels of anemia among pregnant women. Anemia levels among women of reproductive age, (15-49 years) is a matter of national concern. This study was carried out to assess determinants of anemia among pregnant women in Kiboga district, one of the districts in the central region of Uganda, with diverse cultural attributes representative of most ethnic groups in the country. Majority of the people in Kiboga are of the ethnic Ganda who are more inclined to an agrarian economy. Methods: This study was a single cross-section and descriptive survey. Anemia status of the pregnant women was determined by measuring their hemoglobin levels. Possible determinant factors including socio-economic characteristics, knowledge, attitudes, practices and food intake were assessed using a structured questionnaire. Results: The prevalence of anemia among pregnant women in Kiboga district was unacceptably high (63.1%). The uptake and utilisation of the public health intervention package against anemia in pregnancy was low with iron/folic acid supplementation at 13.2%, use of intermittent preventive treatment of malaria at 45.4%, and use of deworming medicines at 14.5%. Consumption of beans and other legumes was particularly high (92.8%) while consumption of red meats (58.6%) and organ meats (10.2%) was inadequate. Women from households that did not have a functional radio were 2.065 times more likely be anaemic (95%CI, 1.08 – 3.0) compared to women from households that owned a functional radio. There was little awareness and functional knowledge about anemia among pregnant women. Only 45.7% could mention any negative outcome of anemia and only 4.9% could identify any iron-rich food. Conclusion: The key determinants of anemia among pregnant women in Kiboga district were wealth status and ownership of a radio. Although anemia prevention and control interventions were being implemented in Kiboga district, there uptake was still low. Recommendations: Anemia prevention and control interventions need to be integrated with poverty reduction and social development programs for success. There is need to develop a comprehensive community based BCC strategy that doesn't only rely on radio but also engages other channels for communication and behavioral change.