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S Afr Med J. 2015 Dec 16;106(1):101-4. doi: 10.7196/SAMJ.2016.v106i1.9860.

Prevalence of anaemia in pregnancy in a regional health facility in South Africa.

Author information

1
Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Addington Hospital, Durban, South Africa. addington.gynae@kznhealth.za.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Anaemia is a major global health problem affecting an estimated 42% of pregnant women worldwide. There is a paucity of South African (SA) data on anaemia in pregnancy, despite the fact that parasitic infections are endemic and the nutritional status of sections of the population is poor.

OBJECTIVE:

To determine the prevalence of anaemia among antenatal attendees in a regional hospital in Durban, SA.

METHODS:

This was a cross-sectional prospective study in a regional health facility in an urban setting serving a population of low socioeconomic status. Venous blood samples to perform a full blood count were obtained from antenatal attendees at their first clinic visit.

RESULTS:

Two thousand pregnant women were studied; the mean (standard deviation) age and gestational age at booking was 27.6 (7.6) years and 21.7 (7.1) weeks, respectively. Eight hundred and fifty-four (42.7%) were anaemic (haemoglobin (Hb) levels<11 g/dL). The majority (81.4%) were mildly anaemic. There were five (0.6%) cases of severe anaemia (Hb<7 g/dL). The prevalence of anaemia was significantly higher in HIV-positive compared with HIV-negative pregnant women (71.3% v. 28.7%; p<0.0001). The common morphology was normochromic normocytic (n=588, 68.9%).

CONCLUSION:

The prevalence of anaemia was 42.7%. In the majority (81.4%) the anaemia was mild and normocytic and normochromic (68.9%). Anaemia is a common problem among antenatal attendees in an SA urban population.

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