Study of the Association of Soil-Transmitted Helminthiasis with Malnutrition and Anemia among School Children, Debub Achefer District, Northwest Ethiopia

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Addis Ababa University


Soil‐transmitted helminth (STH) infections are the major public health problems in many developing countries including Ethiopia. STHs are one of the major factors that cause malnutrition and anemia. This study was aimed to investigate the associations of intestinal STHs with malnutrition and anemia among school children. A cross‐sectional study was carried out and 384 schoolchildren were chosen using stratified sampling technique enrolled in the study, Debub Achefer District, Northwest Ethiopia from February to March, 2010. Structured questionnaires were administered to gather relevant information on demographic and socioeconomic data. Stool samples were processed for microscopic examinations using Kato‐Katz method. Weight and height were taken using a digital portable weighing calibrated SECA scale with a sliding headpiece. Epi Info version 6 software was employed to evaluate anthropometric parameters. The NCHS growth chart reference was used to estimate the prevalence of underweight/thinness among 9‐14 years school children. Hemoglobin was determined using Hemocue HB 201 analyzer. Data were analyzed using SPSS statistical software version 15. Binary logistic regression analysis (OR) was used to determine association of STH with malnutrition and anemia, whereas Pearson chi‐square test was applied to compare proportions. The overall point prevalence of STH infection in the study area was 54.9%, single, double, and triple infections being 45.8%, 8.6%, and 0.5%, respectively. The prevalence of hookworm, Ascaris lumbricoides, Trichuris trichiura, Enterobius vermicularis, and Hymenolepis nana infections were 46.9%, 13.8%, 2.3%, 1%, and 0.5%, respectively. The prevalence of malnutrition in terms of stunting, underweight and wasting were 12.2%, 30.7% and 17.9%, respectively. The overall prevalence of anemia was 17.2%. The findings showed that there was no statistically significant association between STH infections and malnutrition (P>0.05). However, there was significant association between STH infections and anemia (P<0.05). The present study showed that STH infections, malnutrition, and anemia were highly prevalent. Hookworm infections were considered as the main causes of anemia among schoolchildren in the study area. Nevertheless, no association was observed between STH infections and malnutrition. Mass drug administration is recommended for STHs together with school feeding programs, health education on proper personal and environmental hygiene practices. Key words/phrases: Anemia, Debub Achefer District, Ethiopia, Malnutrition, School children, STH



Anemia, Debub Achefer District, Ethiopia, Malnutrition, School children, STH