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Am J Trop Med Hyg. 2001 Mar-Apr;64(3-4):164-71.

Randomized intervention study comparing several regimens for the treatment of moderate anemia among refugee children in Kigoma Region, Tanzania.

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  • 1International Emergency and Refugee Health Branch, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia 30341, USA.


Anemia-specific mortality was markedly elevated among refugee children < 5 years of age in Tanzania. In a randomized, double-blind study, 215 anemic children were initially treated for malaria and helminth infection and then received 12 weeks of thrice-weekly oral iron and folic acid. Group I received placebo and chloroquine treatment for symptomatic malaria infection (i.e., no presumptive anti-malarial treatment given). Group II received placebo and monthly presumptive treatment with sulfamethoxazole-pyrimethamine (SP). Group III also received monthly SP and thrice-weekly vitamins A and C (VAC). Mean hemoglobin concentration increased from 6.6 to 10.2 g/dL, with no significant differences among groups. Group II had lower mean serum transferrin receptor levels (TfR) than group I [P = 0.023]. A greater proportion of participants in group III had normal iron stores (TfR < 8.5 microg/ mL) than in group II [P = 0.012]. Initial helminth and malaria treatment, followed by thrice-weekly iron and folic acid supplements resulted in increased hemoglobin levels. Monthly SP and thrice-weekly VAC contributed to improve iron stores. Monthly SP may have a role in situations where asymptomatic disease is prevalent or where access to care is limited. Because administration of VAC also hastened recovery of iron stores over administration of monthly SP alone, health care personnel could add VAC to the treatment for moderate anemia if maximum recovery of iron stores is desired.

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