Prevalence of Anemia among Children Aged 6 Months - 12 Years Attending the Emergency Room in Princess Rahma Teaching Hospital for Children in Northern Jordan

KHALED Yaseen shalby


Objective: The purpose of this work was to analyze the prevalence of anemia among children aged 6
months- 12 years attending emergency room of a hospital in Northern Jordan.
Method: This was a cross-sectional retrospective study performed from May to August 2014 using the
computerized database of Princess Rahma teaching hospital for children. This study analyzed
information from 1,728 children aged 6 months to 12 years attending the emergency room. Children
with abnormal white blood counts at the time of the hemoglobin test and with chronic diseases were
excluded. The data of age, gender, hemoglobin level, and severity of anemia were analyzed. Anemia
was defined as hemoglobin level < 11 g/dL in children aged 6-59 months and <11.5 g/dL in children
aged 5-12 years, according to cut-off levels of hemoglobin suggested by the World Health Organization.
Results: The overall prevalence of anemia in children aged 6 months-12 years was 24.9% (N= 431).
The overall prevalence of anemia in children aged 6 months to 5 years was 32% (N=351) and children
below 2 years presented the highest risk of anemia (39%, N=241). Most anemic cases in children from
6 months to 5 years (67.5%, 237/351) were mild, followed by 31.3% (110) and 1.1% (4) of the cases
that showed moderate and severe anemia, respectively. Mean hemoglobin value for children from 6
months to 5 years was 11.4 g/dl. The overall prevalence of anemia in children aged 5-12 years was12.7
% (N=80). On the other hand, most anemic cases in children aged 5-12 years (57.5%) showed moderate
anemia, while 40% of the cases presented mild type and 2.5% severe anemia. Mean hemoglobin value
for children from 5years to 12 years was 12.8 g/dl.
Conclusion: Given the high prevalence of childhood anemia observed in northern Jordan, particularly
among those less than 5 years of age, and given the negative consequences of anemia on their cognitive
and behavioral development even in later years, there is an urgent need for effective and efficient public
health intervention. In April 2002, Jordan began a wheat flour fortification program that included iron
and folic acid, but despite this national fortification program there was no statistically significant change
in the prevalence of anemia, indicating that other causes (in addition to iron deficiency) are responsible
for anemia. In addition, the high prevalence of anemia supports the need to develop strategies in
prevention rather than treatment in this important public health issue.


Anemia, Jordan, childhood anemia, hemoglobin.

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