article 10. 5
 

 

 

The Burden of Soil Transmitted Helminths Induced Anaemia In Pregnant Women In Port Harcourt, Nigeria

 

C.K. Wachukwu,

Department of Medical Laboratory Science, Rivers State,

University of Science and Technology,

Nkpolu-Oroworukwo, Port Harcourt, Nigeria.

 

 C.U. Nyenke,

College of Health Science and Technology

Port Harcourt, Rivers State. Nigeria.

 

C.A. Mbata

Department of Medical Laboratory Science, Rivers State,

University of Science and Technology,

Nkpolu-Oroworukwo, Port Harcourt, Nigeria.

 

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Abstract

 

Soil-transmitted helminth infections represent a serious public health problem in developing countries like Nigeria, where deficient sanitation and hygienic conditions favour their transmission. The present study determined the relationship between soil-transmitted helminthes and haemoglobin status in pregnant women attending the antenatal clinic in Port Harcourt, Nigeria. Six hundred (600) pregnant women had  a pre-nata; evaluation, their examination  included a coproparasitological evaluation using the Kato-Katz cellophane quantitative thick smear technique and determination of haemoglobin, haematocrit levels and iron status as a measure of anaemia. The overall prevalence of soil-transmitted helminth infection in this study was 41.0% with significant variation in age and parity. Trichuris by Ascaris lumbricoides with a prevalence rate of 35.7% while hookworm  infection was identified in  25.4% of the pregnant women. Pregnant women with infections  (<500epg) had significantly lower haemoglobin and haematocrit values of Hb 9.6 1.1 and HCT 31.0  9.6 respectively, than uninfected pregnant  women (Hb 11.3 4.6 and HCT 32.7 10.1). about 66% of pregnant women in this study were anaemia  at baseline, using  the cut-off point of Hb < 11.0g/dl and HCT < 33% as indicators of anaemia proposed by  WHO and Centre for Disease Control and Prevention. The results obtained from this study emphasizes the need for wide implementation of intermittent iron folic acid supplementation as a valid strategy in the prevention of anaemia in prenatal care settings. It also underscores the need for continued public health awareness of worms and periodic stool examinations duing pregnancy, as part of their routine laboratory test in the prenatal evaluation of women in rural and semi-urban areas of Nigeria.

 

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