Extent of Microcytic Anemia among Children in a low-income, Peri-urban Community in the Dominican Republic using different cut-points

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Abstract

Response to anemia in low-resource settings may entail presumptive iron treatment for those with Hemoglobin (Hb) levels falling below certain cut points. This study aimed to inform an anemia screening and treatment service in a low-income community in the Dominican Republic by determining (i) the prevalence of anemia in young children attending this service using different Hb cut points and (ii) the extent of microcytosis using different recommended cut points for the mean corpuscular volume (MCV). Using the WHO recommended cut point of <11.0 g/dl, 69.9% of 292 children would be classified as anemic, while using a more conservative cut point, <10.0 g/dl, 34.6% would be identified. Depending on the Hb cut point and which of two age-based MCV cut points are used, the prevalence of microcytosis within the anemic subsamples ranged from 23.5% to 80.2%. With increasing availability of complete blood counts in low resource settings (vs. Hb only), more sophisticated management algorithms are necessary to guide primary care efforts.

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