Prevalence and Risk Factors of Anaemia at the First Antenatal Visit in Buea - Cameroon: A Cross-Sectional Study

Author(s): Ajong Brian Ngongheh, Akateh Derek, AgbornkwaiNyenty Agbor, Calvin Besong Eta Oben, Tambe Elvis Akem, ChandiniAliyou Moustapha, MbargaEssimTheresse Nicole, NdzoJudwin Alieh, Longsti Scarlet Tabot E

Background: Anaemia in pregnancy is a risk factor for maternal and neonatal morbidity and mortality. Interventions to reduce its burden start from the first antenatal visit and continue throughout pregnancy. Previous studies report that anaemia in pregnancy is a public health concern as early as the first antenatal visit. This study sought to measure the prevalence and identify risk factors of anaemia among pregnant women attending their first antenatal visit.

Methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted at Buea Regional Hospital. Questionnaires were administered to collect socio-demographic data and risk factors of anaemia in pregnancy. Blood was used to measure haemoglobin concentration, malaria parasitaemia and HIV serology. Risk factors for anaemia in pregnancy were identified using univariable and multivariable analysis in logistic regression. P–values <0.05 were considered statistically significant.

Results: Among 250 pregnant women, 171 (68.4%) were anaemic. In multivariable analysis, malaria infection and gravidity were significantly associated with anaemia in pregnancy (AOR=9.47, p<0.001 and AOR=1.98, p=0.044respectively). There was a strong negative correlation between malaria parasitaemia and haemoglobin concentration (r= -0.5816, p<0.001). Early anti-malaria therapy during the current pregnancy was associated with a lower risk of anaemia in pregnancy among primigravida (AOR=0.378, p=0.013).

Conclusions: High prevalence of anaemia in pregnancy in this study demonstrates its public health importance in the first antenatal visit. Malaria infection and parity are strong modifiable and non-modifiable risk factors respectively. Prompt anti-malaria therapy in primigravida is critical in reducing anaemia in pregnancy.

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