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Anaemia prevalence and associated factors among lactating mothers in Ethiopia: evidence from the 2005 and 2011 demographic and health surveys
  1. Yihunie Lakew1,
  2. Sibhatu Biadgilign2,
  3. Demewoz Haile3
  1. 1Ethiopian Public Health Association, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
  2. 2Independent Public Health Consultant, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
  3. 3Department of Public Health, College of Medicine and Health Sciences, Madawalabu University, Bale Goba, Ethiopia
  1. Correspondence to Demewoz Haile; demewozhaile{at}


Objective To identify factors associated with anaemia in lactating mothers in Ethiopia.

Design A cross-sectional secondary analysis of data pooled from two rounds of the 2005 and 2011 Ethiopian Demographic and Health Survey (EDHS) was used. A multivariate logistic regression model was applied to determine the factors associated with anaemia.

Population A total of 7332 lactating mothers (2285 from EDHS 2005 and 5047 from EDHS 2011) were included from 11 administrative states of Ethiopia.

Main outcome measures Lactating mothers considered anaemic if haemoglobin level <12 g/dL.

Results The overall prevalence of anaemia among lactating mothers was 22.1% (95% CI 21.13% to 23.03%). The highest prevalence was 48.7% (95% CI 40.80% to 56.62%) found in the Somali region, followed by 43.8% (95% CI 31.83% to 56.87%) in the Afar region. The multivariate statistical model showed that having a husband who had attended primary education (adjusted OR (AOR) 0.79; 95% CI 0.68 to 0.91), working during the 12 months preceding the survey (AOR 0.71; 95% CI 0.63 to 0.80), having a normal maternal body mass index (18.5–24.99 kg/m2) (AOR 0.78; 95% CI 0.68 to 0.89), being in the middle wealth quintile (AOR 0.83; 95% CI 0.71 to 0.98) or rich wealth quintile (AOR 0.83; 95% CI 0.70 to 0.98), having ever used family planning (AOR 0.68; 95% CI 0.57 to 0.80), having attended antenatal care (ANC) for the indexed pregnancy four times or more (AOR 0.73; 95% CI 0.59 to 0.91), having experienced time variation between the two surveys (AOR 0.73; 95% CI 0.64 to 0.85), and breastfeeding for 2 years (AOR 0.76; 95% CI 0.66 to 0.87) were factors associated with lower odds of having anaemia in lactating mothers.

Conclusions Anaemia is highly prevalent among lactating mothers, particularly in the pastoralist communities of Somali and Afar. Promoting partner education, improving maternal nutritional status, and creating behavioural change to use family planning and ANC services at health facilities are recommended interventions to reduce the prevalence of anaemia among lactating mothers in Ethiopia.


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