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Haematological profiles of the people of rural southern Malawi: an overview

Brabin, Bernard, Prinsen Geerligs, P. D., Verhoeff, Francine H., Fletcher, K. A., Chimsuku, L. H. E., Ngwira, B. M., Leich, O. J. and Broadhead, R. L. (2004) 'Haematological profiles of the people of rural southern Malawi: an overview'. Annals of Tropical Medicine and Parasitology, Vol 98, Issue 1, pp. 71-83.

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An integrative review of the results of two published and two unpublished studies of anaemia in children, adolescent females, pregnant women and adults living in southern Malawi is presented. Anaemia was universally present in all age-groups, with the higher prevalences in infants (100%) and adolescent primigravidae (93.8%). Nutritional deficits of iron and vitamin A were major contributory factors but chronic malarial haemolysis also significantly contributed to the anaemia. Among boys, anaemia was more common among those with glucose-6-phosphate-dehydrogenase (G6PD) deficiency than in those without this deficiency (P<0.002). This enzymopathy, which occurred in 23.5% [95% confidence interval (CI)=16.7%-30.1%]of the male and 30% (CI=17.3%-42.7%) of the female infants examined, was also associated with neonatal jaundice. The overall prevalences of the -&alpha;(3.7)/&alpha;&alpha; and -&alpha;(3.7)/-&alpha;(3.7) thalassaemia genotypes were estimated at 41.0% (CI=28.3%-53.7%) and 8.7% (CI=1.5%-15.9%), respectively. Haemoglobin AS was present in 18.1% (CI=12.8%-23.4%) of the infants and haemoglobin SS in 2.5% (CI=1.4%-3.6%). As the prevalence of infection with Plasmodium falciparum was significantly higher in infants with haemoglobin AS than in those with AA (21.4% v. 6.7%; P<0.001), an increased risk of early-onset moderate parasitaemias in young infants probably stimulates the development of immunity, protecting older heterozygotes from severe malarial infection. Innovative community approaches are required to break the cycle of ill health that anaemia supports in those living in rural areas of southern Malawi. Interventions in adolescent girls could be of particular importance, as they could break the cycle in both pregnant women and their infants.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: glucose-6-phosphate-dehydrogenase deficiency neonatal jaundice g6pd deficiency vitamin-a malaria protection infection nigeria
Subjects: WC Communicable Diseases > Tropical and Parasitic Diseases > WC 750 Malaria
WH Hemic and Lymphatic Systems > Hematologic Diseases. Immunologic Factors. Blood Banks > WH 155 Anemia
WH Hemic and Lymphatic Systems > WH 20 Research (General)
Faculty: Department: Groups (2002 - 2012) > Child & Reproductive Health Group
Digital Object Identifer (DOI):
Depositing User: Martin Chapman
Date Deposited: 08 Jan 2013 10:21
Last Modified: 06 Feb 2018 13:03


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