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Application of machine learning methods for predicting childhood anaemia: Analysis of Ethiopian Demographic Health Survey of 2016
Authors: Solomon Hailemariam Tesfaye, Binyam Tariku Seboka, and,Daniel Sisay
Source: PLOS ONE , Volume 19, issue 4; DOI:
Topic(s): Anemia
Child health
Country: Africa
Published: APR 2024
Abstract: Childhood anaemia is a public health problem in Ethiopia. Machine learning (ML) is a growing in medicine field to predict diseases. Diagnosis of childhood anaemia is resource intensive. The aim of this study is to apply machine learning (ML) algorithm to predict childhood anaemia using socio-demographic, economic, and maternal and child related variables. The study used data from 2016 Ethiopian demographic health survey (EDHS). We used Python software version 3.11 to apply and test ML algorithms through logistic regression, Random Forest (RF), Decision Tree, and K-Nearest Neighbours (KNN). We evaluated the performance of each of the ML algorithms using discrimination and calibration parameters. The predictive performance of the algorithms was between 60% and 66%. The logistic regression model was the best predictive model of ML with accuracy (66%), sensitivity (82%), specificity (42%), and AUC (69%), followed by RF with accuracy (64%), sensitivity (79%), specificity (42%), and AUC (63%). The logistic regression and the RF models of ML showed poorest family, child age category between 6 and 23 months, uneducated mother, unemployed mother, and stunting as high importance predictors of childhood anaemia. Applying logistic regression and RF models of ML can detect combinations of predictors of childhood anaemia that can be used in primary health care professionals.