UBC Faculty Research and Publications

Identifying risk factors of anemia among women of reproductive age in Rwanda – a cross-sectional study using secondary data from the Rwanda demographic and health survey 2014/2015 Hakizimana, Dieudonne; Nisingizwe, Marie P; Logan, Jenae; Wong, Rex


Background: Anemia among Women of Reproductive Age (WRA) continues to be among the major public health problems in many developing countries, including Rwanda, where it increased in prevalence between the 2015 and 2010 Rwanda Demographic and Health Survey (RDHS) reports. A thorough understanding of its risk factors is necessary to design better interventions. However, to the best of our knowledge, no study has been conducted in Rwanda on a nationally representative sample to assess factors associated with anemia among WRA. Accordingly, this study was conducted to address such gap. Methods: A quantitative, cross-sectional study was conducted using data from the RDHS 2014–2015. The study population consisted of 6680 WRA who were tested for anemia during the survey. Anemia was defined as having a hemoglobin level equal to or below 10.9 g/dl for a pregnant woman, and hemoglobin level equal to or below 11.9 g/dl for a non-pregnant woman. Pearson’s chi-squared test and multiple logistic regression were conducted for bivariate and multivariable analysis, respectively. Results: The prevalence of anemia among WRA was 19.2% (95% CI: 18.0–20.5). Four factors were found to be associated with lower odds of anemia, including being obese (OR: 0.61, 95% CI: 0.40–0.91), being in the rich category (OR: 0.74, 95% CI: 0.63–0.87), sleeping under a mosquito net (OR: 0.85, 95% CI: 0.74–0.98), and using hormonal contraceptives (OR: 0.61, 95% CI: 0.50–0.73). Five factors were associated with higher odds of anemia, including being underweight (OR: 1.39, 95% CI: 1.09–1.78), using an intrauterine device (OR: 1.98, 95% CI: 1.05–3.75), being separated or widowed (OR: 1.35, 95% CI: 1.09–1.67), and living in the Southern province (OR: 1.45, 95% CI: 1.11–1.89) or in the Eastern province (OR: 1.41, 95% CI: 1.06–1.88). Conclusion: Anemia continues to pose public health challenges; novel public health interventions should consider geographic variations in anemia risk, seek to improve women’s economic statuses, and strengthen iron supplementation especially for Intrauterine device users. Additionally, given the association between anemia and malaria, interventions to prevent malaria should be enhanced.

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