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To assess the association of the acute-phase protein biomarkers, C-reactive protein (CRP) and α1-acid glycoprotein (AGP), with anaemia in children aged 6–59·9 months in Papua New Guinea.
A nationally representative household-based cross-sectional survey of children aged 6–59·9 months was used to assess the relationships between various combinations of elevated CRP (>5 mg/l) and AGP (>1·2 g/l) with anaemia. Logistic regression was used to determine if other factors, such as age, sex, measures of anthropometry, region, urban/rural residence and household size, modified or confounded the acute-phase protein–anaemia association.
Papua New Guinea.
A total of 870 children aged 6–59·9 months from the 2005 Papua New Guinea National Micronutrient Survey were assessed.
The following prevalence estimates were found: anaemia 48 %; elevated CRP 32 %; and elevated AGP 33 %. Children with elevated CRP had a prevalence of anaemia of 66 % compared with children with normal CRP who had a prevalence of 40 %. Corresponding estimates for AGP were 61 % and 42 %, respectively. Similar results were found with combinations of elevated CRP and AGP. The higher prevalence of anaemia in children with elevated CRP and/or AGP was still present after controlling for confounders.
Elevated levels of CRP and AGP were significantly associated with a higher prevalence of anaemia in the children surveyed. There are no expert group recommendations on whether to or how to account for markers of inflammation in presenting results on anaemia prevalence. Additional research would be helpful to clarify this issue.
To evaluate the acceptability of iron and iron-alloy cooking pots prior to an intervention trial and to investigate factors affecting retention and use.
Pre-trial research was conducted on five types of iron and iron-alloy pots using focus group discussions and a laboratory evaluation of Fe transfer during cooking was undertaken. Usage and retention during the subsequent intervention trial were investigated using focus group discussions and market monitoring.
Three refugee camps in western Tanzania.
Refugee health workers were selected for pre-trial research. Mothers of children aged 6–59 months participated in the investigation of retention and use.
Pre-trial research indicated that the stainless steel pot would be the only acceptable type for use in this population due to excessive rusting and/or the high weight of other types. Cooking three typical refugee dishes in stainless steel pots led to an increase in Fe content of 3·2 to 17·1 mg/100 g food (P < 0·001). During the trial, the acceptability of the stainless steel pots was lower than expected owing to difficulties with using, cleaning and their utility for other purposes. Households also continued to use their pre-existing pots, and stainless steel pots were sold to increase household income.
Pre-trial research led to the selection of a stainless steel pot that met basic acceptability criteria. The relatively low usage reported during the trial highlights the limitations of using high-value iron-alloy cooking pots as an intervention in populations where poverty and the availability of other pots may lead to selling.
To evaluate the effectiveness of stainless steel (Fe alloy) cooking pots in reducing Fe-deficiency anaemia in food aid-dependent populations.
Repeated cross-sectional surveys. Between December 2001 and January 2003, three surveys among children aged 6–59 months and their mothers were conducted in 110 households randomly selected from each camp. The primary outcomes were changes in Hb concentration and Fe status.
Two long-term refugee camps in western Tanzania.
Children (6–59 months) and their mothers were surveyed at 0, 6 and 12 months post-intervention. Stainless steel pots were distributed to all households in Nduta camp (intervention); households in Mtendeli camp (control) continued to cook with aluminium or clay pots.
Among children, there was no change in Hb concentration at 1 year; however, Fe status was lower in the intervention camp than the control camp (serum transferrin receptor (sTfR) concentration: 6·8 v. 5·9 μg/ml; P < 0·001). There was no change in Hb concentration among non-pregnant mothers at 1 year. Subjects in the intervention camp had lower Fe status than those in the control camp (sTfR concentration: 5·8 v. 4·7 μg/ml; P = 0·003).
Distribution of stainless steel pots did not increase Hb concentration or improve Fe status in children or their mothers. The use of stainless steel prevents rusting but may not provide sufficient amounts of Fe and strong educational campaigns may be required to maximize use. The distribution of stainless steel pots in refugee contexts is not recommended as a strategy to control Fe deficiency.
To investigate the prevalence of anaemia (haemoglobin < 11.0 to 13.0 g dl−1 depending on age and sex group), iron deficiency (transferrin receptor concentration > 8.3 μg ml−1) and vitamin A deficiency (serum retinol < 0.7 μmoll−1) in adolescent refugees.
Kakuma refugee camp in Kenya and seven refugee camps in Nepal.
Adolescent refugee residents in these camps.
Anaemia was present in 46% (95% confidence interval (CI): 42–51) of adolescents in Kenya and in 24% (95% CI: 20–28) of adolescents in Nepal. The sensitivity of palmar pallor in detecting anaemia was 21%. In addition, 43% (95% CI: 36–50) and 53% (95% CI: 46–61) of adolescents in Kenya and Nepal, respectively, had iron deficiency. In both surveys, anaemia occurred more commonly among adolescents with iron deficiency. Vitamin A deficiency was found in 15% (95% CI: 10–20) of adolescents in Kenya and 30% (95% CI: 24–37) of adolescents in Nepal. Night blindness was not more common in adolescents with vitamin A deficiency than in those without vitamin A deficiency. In Kenya, one of the seven adolescents with Bitot's spots had vitamin A deficiency.
Anaemia, iron deficiency and vitamin A deficiency are common among adolescents in refugee populations. Such adolescents need to increase intakes of these nutrients; however, the lack of routine access makes programmes targeting adolescents difficult. Adolescent refugees should be considered for assessment along with other at-risk groups in displaced populations.
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