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Anaemia and associated risk factors among pregnant women in Gilgel Gibe dam area, Southwest Ethiopia

Million Getachew1, Delenesaw Yewhalaw2, Ketema Tafess1*, Yehenew Getachew3 and Ahmed Zeynudin4

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Biomedical Sciences, School of Health, Adama Science and Technology University, Asella, Ethiopia

2 Departments of Biology, College of Natural Sciences, Jimma University, Jimma, Ethiopia

3 Department of Information Communication Technology, College of Agriculture and Veterinary Medicine, Jimma University, Jimma, Ethiopia

4 Department of Laboratory Technology and Pathology, College of Public Health and Medical Sciences, Jimma University, Jimma, Ethiopia

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Parasites & Vectors 2012, 5:296  doi:10.1186/1756-3305-5-296

Published: 17 December 2012



Anaemia is known to be one of the outcomes of parasitic infection and it may result in impaired cognitive development, reduced physical work capacity and in severe cases increased risk of mortality, particularly during the prenatal period. The aim of this study was to determine the prevalence and associated risk factors of anaemia among pregnant women in Gilgel-Gibe dam area, southwestern Ethiopia.


A cross-sectional community based study was conducted on 388 pregnant women living in three districts around Gilgel Gibe Dam area, southwestern Ethiopia. Socio-demographic and socio-economic data were collected from each participant. A single stool sample was also collected from each selected pregnant woman. Haemoglobin concentration was determined by the cyanmethemoglobin method. Plasmodium infection prevalence and intensity were assessed with thin and thick blood film examination.


Of the total 388 study participants, 209 (53.9%) were anaemic. Pregnant woman who were rural residents (Adjusted odds ratio (AOR) = 1.62, 95% C.I: 1.02-2.62, P= 0.042), not using insecticide treated nets (ITNs) during the study period (AOR = 2.84, 95% C.I: 1.33-6.05, p = 0.007), those who were Plasmodium malaria infected (AOR = 11.19, 95% C.I: 3.31-37.7, p= 0.01) and those with Soil Transmitted Helminth (STH) infections (AOR=1.82, 95% C.I: 1.16-2.87, p=0.001) had higher odds of being anaemic than those who were urban residents, using ITNs, free of Plasmodium malaria and Soil transmitted helminth infection, respectively. There was a significant correlation between increasing hookworm parasite load (r = −.110, P< 0.001), Ascaris lumbricoides (r = −.122, P < 0.001) and Trichuris trichiura (r = −.025, P < 0.001) and decreasing hematocrit values.


The high prevalence of anaemia indicates it is currently a serious health problem of pregnant women living in Gilgel Gibe Dam area. Plasmodium malaria and soil transmitted helminth infections were significantly associated with anaemia. Antenatal care should promote de-worming and education on personal hygiene. Therefore, there is a need to design strategies that help to diagnose pregnant women for malaria and STH infections during their antenatal care (ANC) visit instead of testing for only haemoglobin (Hgb) levels and blood group.

Co- infection; Pregnant women; Soil Transmitted Helminths; Anaemia; Malaria; Ethiopia