Background Anaemia in school children is associated with impaired cognition and poor academic performance. In western Kenya around 20% of school-aged children are anaemic due to dietary insufficiencies, helminth infections and malaria. There is a need to find field-appropriate and cost-effective methods to assess anaemia in rural populations.
Method A comprehensive school health and nutrition programme was delivered to 3552 children in rural Western Kenya. Using a non-invasive Masimo-Pronto 7 device haemoglobin levels were measured biannually in a randomly selected sample of children. Consent was obtained from the schools and parents.
Results A total of 2538 haemoglobin measurements were made over the three-year pilot. Non-invasive haemoglobin measurements were easily performed by staff and well tolerated by children. Anaemia was defined as haemoglobin of less that 12g/dl. At baseline 26.9% of children were anaemic Preliminary analysis of the first round of data collection showed a significant reduction in anaemia (OR 0.25 95% CI 0.16–0.40 p= <0.001).
Discussion Non-invasive haemoglobin measuring is relatively unused in global health work despite evidence that it produces results comparable to serum testing. It is non-invasive, well tolerated by children, cheaper and simple to use. This project has shown the potential for using non-invasive haemoglobin measuring in complex health interventions and has been able to demonstrate an improvement in levels of anaemia over the first year of the pilot.
Conclusion Non-invasive haemoglobin measuring is feasible in the assessment of child health in low resource settings and will help in the evaluation of child health programmes.
Statistics from Altmetric.com
If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.