Anemia among Schoolchildren with Malaria and Soil-Transmitted Helminth Coinfection after Repeated Rounds of Mass Drug Administration in Muheza District, Tanzania.

Research paper by Billy B Ngasala, Ferdinand F Matata, Richard R Mwaiswelo, Bruno P BP Mmbando

Indexed on: 23 Sep '19Published on: 14 Sep '19Published in: The American journal of tropical medicine and hygiene


Coinfection with malaria and soil-transmitted helminths (STHs) has been common among school-aged children in Tanzania. However, after a countrywide scaling up of interventions for malaria and STHs, there are limited data on the prevalence of malaria-STH coinfection and its effect on anemia in schoolchildren in Tanzania. We assessed the distribution and risk factors for malaria, STHs, and malaria-STH coinfection, and its relation to anemia among 445 primary schoolchildren in Muheza district. A semi-structured questionnaire was used to collect demographic characteristics of the children. Malaria rapid diagnostic test (mRDT) was used to diagnose malaria infection. Soil-transmitted helminths were diagnosed using the Kato-Katz technique. Primary outcome was anemia, defined as hemoglobin concentration < 11 g/dL. Chi-square (χ) or Fisher's exact tests, Kruskal-Wallis or -test, and logistic models were used as appropriate. Overall, the prevalence of malaria, STHs, malaria-STH coinfection, and anemia were 18.4%, 6.1%, 1.6%, and 19.8%, respectively. Anemic children were more likely to have malaria (adjusted odds ratio [aOR] = 4.538, 95% CI: 2.189-9.409), whereas frequent use of bed nets was associated with reduced risk of malaria (aOR = 0.234, 95% CI: 0.130-0.42). On the other hand, not always using latrines and eating raw uncooked food increased the risk of STH infection. The prevalence of anemia was high and was associated with both malaria and malaria-STH infections, therefore calling for more integrated malaria-STH control approaches to target school-aged children.