Anemia, the lack of red blood cells or the red blood pigment hemoglobin, is one of the most common causes of death among under 5-year-old children in sub-Saharan Africa. Micronutrient deficiencies, particularly a deficit in iron, are the leading cause for this. A study published in January 2017 investigated the incidence of anemia in children aged 6 to 59 months in the Namutumba district of East Central Uganda:
- In spite of current interventions against anemia, such as de-worming, malaria prophylaxis and the distribution of fortified complementary foods, it remains an ongoing challenge in Uganda. Roughly every second Ugandan child under five years suffers from anemia, even more (67.5 %) in some regions, such as Namutumba (see map below).
- Of 376 infants (6-59 month) examined, the younger ones from 6 to 11 (63,5 %) and 12 to 23 (68.5 %)months of age were the most affected; boys (61.3 %) more often than girls.
- Children living in rural areas of the Namutumba district had a greater risk of anemia compared to their peers in the city.
- Approximately one out of every four children suffers from stunting and every eighth was malnourished. Malaria affected about every third child.
- In the region with the highest illiteracy rate and the lowest level of health care, anemia occurred most frequently with 79.0 %.
- The incidence rate decreased, the more educated the mother or nurses were. Two thirds of caregivers had no knowledge of how to avoid anemia in children.
- Children who grew up with more than six siblings were less likely to be affected than children of very young, inexperienced mothers, who had no or only a few children.
- Anemia showed to occur in combination with an un unbalanced, unilateral diet or spoiled food.
The study authors from the Makerere University School of Public Health, emphasize that higher investments are necessary for the prevention of anemia in order to be able to perform routine screening and to improve the treatment. Special care should be given to children aged 6 to 23 months, children in rural areas, and those with a low level of education.
Map of Uganda: the Namutumba District is marked red. The majority of the local population is active in agriculture. The main crops are rice, peanuts, millet and cassava
 See also: Legason, I.D. et al. (2017) “Prevalence of Anaemia and Associated Risk Factors among Children in North-western Uganda: A Cross Sectional Study”. BMC hematology ,17(1), 10. Online available via: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28680644
F Kuziga et al. Prevalence and factors associated with anaemia among children aged 6 to 59 months in Namutumba district, Uganda: a cross- sectional study. BMC Pediatr. 2017; 17: 25. Published online 2017 Jan 18. doi: 10.1186/s12887-017-0782-3. Available via: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5242053/
Students4Kids: Iron Deficiency Anaemia as a Global Problem. Scientific Paper. Available via: https://students4kids.org/en/blog/eisenmangelanaemien-als-globales-problem/
(cc) OpenStreetMap contributors, Jarry1250, NordNordWest/Wikipedia