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Year : 2018  |  Volume : 3  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 43-48

Prevalence of anemia and iron status among nomadic Fulani children in a grazing reserve in Northwestern Nigeria

1 Department of Hematology and Blood Transfusion, Kaduna State University, Kaduna, Nigeria
2 Department of Hematology and Blood Transfusion, Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Nigeria

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Halima Bello-Manga
Department of Haematology and Blood Transfusion, Kaduna Sate University, Kaduna
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/archms.archms_18_18

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Introduction: Iron is one of the most important micronutrients that play a vital role in hemoglobin (Hb) synthesis, cellular metabolism, and psychomotor function in humans. Iron deficiency is a major cause of anemia worldwide, particularly in children. The nomadic Fulanis have a migratory lifestyle determined by the availability of water and pasture for their livestock, making them difficult to reach, thus the paucity of knowledge on their health status. Objectives: To assess the Hb concentration, red cell indices, serum ferritin, and transferrin receptor levels among nomadic Fulani children in Ladduga grazing reserve of Kaduna state, Nigeria. Materials, Subjects, and Methods: This was a cross-sectional, descriptive study using questionnaires and physical examination of 340 children (5–15 years). Their complete blood count was determined by automation; serum ferritin and soluble transferrin receptor (sTFR) levels were assayed using enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay technique. Data obtained was analyzed using SPSS version 20.0. Level of significance was set at P ≤ 0.05. Results: The prevalence of anemia was 40.3%, which was significantly higher among the children aged 5–9 years (54.7%) compared to 30.5% in the 10–15 years age group (Z-statistic = 4.5, P= <0.001). Iron deficiency anemia was observed in only 19 (5.6%) of the study population. Median (interquartile ranges) serum ferritin and mean ± standard deviation sTFR levels were 56.0 (55.8) μg/L and 34.73 ± 14.29 nmol/L, respectively. Majority (77.4%) of the participants had normal iron stores and only 18.8% had low stores. Among the 137 participants with anemia, 19 (13.9%), 76 (55.5%), 102 (74.5%), and 76 (55.5%) had serum ferritin <30 μg/L, sTfR > 28.1 nmol/L, mean corpuscular volume <80 fl, and mean corpuscular hemoglobin <27 pg, respectively. Conclusion: There is a high prevalence of anemia among nomadic Fulani children at Ladduga grazing reserve. However, iron deficiency is not the only cause of anemia.

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