LEVEL OF AWARENESS AND PREVENTION OF ANAEMIA IN PREGNANCY AMONG PREGNANT WOMEN IN NIGERIA. A RESEARCH PROJECT TOPIC ON PUBLIC HEALTH
Background of study
Anaemia is a condition in which the number of red blood cells or their oxygen carrying capacity is insufficient to meet the physiological needs. It has been shown to be a public health problem that affects low, middle and high income countries and has significant adverse health and socio-economic consequences (Munasinghe, 2014).The most reliable indicator of anaemia at the population level is haemoglobin concentration although it does not indicate the cause (WHO, 2011). Haemoglobin is an iron containing oxygen transport protein in red blood cells of all vertebrates (Al Kahtani et al., 2012). It is composed of a protein group known as globin and four hem groups. Its function is to carry oxygen from the lungs to other parts of the body. It is produced by the bone marrow and destroyed by the spleen. Anemia can present in two forms symptomatic or asymptomatic. Dizziness, palpitation, easy fatigability are some of the symptoms a person can exhibit when suffering from anemia (Haas & Brownlie, 2001).
Anemia during pregnancy is a serious public health problem particularly in developing countries (Al Akanni, et al., 2014; Al Hassan, 2015). Some studies have shown that anaemia is a major contributor to maternal death especially in developing countries where a strong association between severe anaemia and maternal mortality has been observed (Al Kahtani et al., 2012). Pregnant women and children are the most vulnerable groups of getting anaemia This is as a result of the additional demand on maternal stores during pregnancy (Bencaiova, et al., 2012; Karkowsky, 2015). The World Health Organization (WHO) defines anaemia in pregnancy as Haemoglobin (Hb) level of less than 11g/dl (WHO, 2011).The most common type of anaemia in pregnancy is iron deficiency caused by low intake of iron and excessive iron loss (McLean et al.,2009; Bishop, 2007). A number of risk factors have been identified to cause anaemia during pregnancy and they include low iron consumption, frequent vomiting, multiple pregnancies, closely spaced pregnancies (WHO 2012). Nutritional causes of anaemia include folic acid, vitamin B12, pyridoxine, and ascorbic acid deficiency (Bottalico et al., 2015; Fernandes, 2014). Haemoglobin levels vary with age, sex, pregnancy and altitude. Symptoms of anaemia include dizziness, easy fatigability, palpitations and shortness of breath (Haas & Brown-lie, 2001). Anaemia is one of the most common nutritional problems we have globally. In subSaharan Africa the main causes of anaemia in pregnancy are iron deficiency and malaria, followed by micronutrient deficiencies and infection (Bernard et al., 2001). The burden of anaemia in pregnant women is still serious and unacceptably high (GHS, 2004). Anaemia in pregnancy is a condition that can easily be prevented and it is treatable (WHO, 2011).