This study aimed to assess the prevalence of anemia among non-pregnant women of childbearing age (15-49 years of age), pregnant women, school-age children 6-14 years of age, and preschool-age children 6-59 months of age in Burkina Faso.
A cross-sectional household survey was conducted in 2014 using a probability sample to produce region-representative estimates for all population groups except for pregnant women. The prevalence of anemia was estimated by measuring hemoglobin using HemoCue Hb201+.
Among 3’782 households participating in the investigation, 3,015 non-pregnant women of childbearing age (1’815 non-lactating, 1’184 lactating), 353 pregnant women, 2’416 school-age children, and 2,287 preschool-age children were randomly selected for inclusion in the study. The national prevalence of anemia in non-pregnant women of childbearing age was 62%, in pregnant women 72%, in school-age children 68%, and in preschool-age children 83%. Large proportions of anemia in all target groups fell in the âmoderate’ severity range, and anemia was higher in rural areas than in urban.
Anemia is a serious public health concern in Burkina Faso. Despite a strategy developed at national level to provide iron supplementation to pregnant and lactating women and deworming of children, high anemia prevalence was observed in these groups. These results challenge the existing strategy and call for integration of multi-sectoral interventions (food diversification, home based fortification, malaria control). Future research should focus on better understanding the causes of anemia for better programmatic guidance in Burkina Faso where malaria and intestinal parasites are high and endemic.