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Determining factors for the prevalence of anemia in women of reproductive age in Nepal: Evidence from recent national survey data
Authors: Sujan Gautam, Haju Min, Heenyun Kim, and Hyoung-Sun Jeong
Source: PLOS ONE , 14(6): e0218288; DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0218288
Topic(s): Anemia
Women's health
Country: Asia
Published: JUN 2019
Abstract: Anemia is a condition in which the number of red blood cells is not sufficient to meet the physiological need of the body. Women of reproductive age and pregnant women are at a high risk of anemia, which in turn may contribute to maternal morbidity and mortality. We aimed to describe the prevalence of anemia and the factors associated with the risk of developing anemia in women of reproductive age in Nepal. Additionally, we examined the association of women’s decision-making autonomy regarding healthcare and experience of intimate partner violence (IPV) with anemia. Data from the 2016 Nepal Demographic and Health Survey (NDHS) were used in this study. The data were adjusted for sampling weight, stratification, and cluster sampling design. A battery-operated portable HemoCue was used to measure hemoglobin and detect anemia. Using complex sample logistic regression, the association between dependent and independent variables were examined; crude and adjusted odds ratio were reported. The mean (± SD) hemoglobin concentration was 12.13 g/dL (± 1.48). Overall, about 41% (95% CI 38.6–43.0%) of women aged 15–49 years were anemic. Women in households with wells as the source of drinking water (aOR 1.93; 95% CI 1.58–2.37) were significantly associated with an increased risk of developing anemia. While women who were currently using hormonal contraceptives (aOR 0.63, 95% CI 0.52–0.76) were significantly less likely to be anemic. After adjusting for background characteristics among women who were married at the time of the survey, decision-making autonomy regarding healthcare, and experience of IPV did not have a significant association with anemia. The high prevalence of anemia suggests the need for substantial improvement in the nutritional status of women. The increased disease burden compared with the past survey highlights the needs to reconsider the existing nutritional policy in Nepal.