Anemia among Schoolchildren with Malaria and Soil-Transmitted Helminth Coinfections after Repeated Rounds of Mass Drug Administration in Muheza District, Tanzania

Billy Ngasala Department of Parasitology and Medical Entomology, Muhimbili University of Health and Allied Sciences, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania;
Department of Women’s and Children’s Health, International Maternal and Child Health (IMCH), Uppsala University, Uppsala, Sweden;

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Ferdinand Matata Department of Parasitology and Medical Entomology, Muhimbili University of Health and Allied Sciences, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania;

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Richard Mwaiswelo Department of Parasitology and Medical Entomology, Muhimbili University of Health and Allied Sciences, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania;
Department of Microbiology, Immunology, and Parasitology, Hubert Kairuki Memorial University, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania;

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Bruno P. Mmbando National Institute for Medical Research, Tanga Centre, Tanga, Tanzania

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Coinfections with malaria and soil-transmitted helminths (STHs) has been common among school-aged children in Tanzania. However, after a countrywide scaling up of interventions for malaria and STHs, there are limited data on the prevalence of malaria–STH coinfections and its effect on anemia in schoolchildren in Tanzania. We assessed the distribution and risk factors for malaria, STHs, and malaria–STH coinfections, and its relation to anemia among 445 primary schoolchildren in Muheza district. A semi-structured questionnaire was used to collect demographic characteristics of the children. Malaria rapid diagnostic test (mRDT) was used to diagnose malaria infection. Soil-transmitted helminths were diagnosed using the Kato–Katz technique. Primary outcome was anemia, defined as hemoglobin concentration < 11 g/dL. Chi-square (χ2) or Fisher’s exact tests, Kruskal–Wallis or t-test, and logistic models were used as appropriate. Overall, the prevalence of malaria, STHs, malaria–STH coinfection, and anemia were 18.4%, 6.1%, 1.6%, and 19.8%, respectively. Anemic children were more likely to have malaria (adjusted odds ratio [aOR] = 4.538, 95% CI: 2.189–9.409), whereas frequent use of bed nets was associated with reduced risk of malaria (aOR = 0.234, 95% CI: 0.130–0.42). On the other hand, not always using latrines and eating raw uncooked food increased the risk of STH infection. The prevalence of anemia was high and was associated with both malaria and malaria–STH infections, therefore calling for more integrated malaria–STH control approaches to target school-aged children.

Author Notes

Address correspondence to Billy Ngasala, Department of Parasitology and Medical Entomology, Muhimbili University of Health and Allied Sciences, P.O. Box 65011, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. E-mail: bngasala70@yahoo.co.uk

Financial support: The study was funded by Swedish International Development Agency (Sida) bilateral project.

Authors’ addresses: Billy Ngasala, Department of Parasitology and Medical Entomology, Muhimbili University of Health and Allied Sciences, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, and Department of Women’s and Children’s Health, International Maternal and Child Health (IMCH), Uppsala University, Uppsala, Sweden, E-mail: bngasala70@yahoo.co.uk. Ferdinand Matata, Department of Parasitology and Medical Entomology, Muhimbili University of Health and Allied Sciences, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, E-mail: ferdinand.matata@gmail.com. Richard Mwaiswelo, Department of Microbiology, Immunology, and Parasitology, Hubert Kairuki Memorial University, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, and Department of Parasitology and Medical Entomology, Muhimbili University of Health and Allied Sciences, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, E-mail: richiemwai@yahoo.com. Bruno P. Mmbando, Department of Statistics and Epidemiology, National Institute for Medical Research, Tanga Center, Tanga, Tanzania, E-mail: b.mmbando@yahoo.com.

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