Prevalence of anaemia in pregnancy and associated factors in northern Uganda: a cross-sectional study

  • Samson Udho
  • Joyce Nankumbi
  • Mariam Namutebi
  • David Mukunya
  • Grace Ndeezi
  • James K Tumwinee


Background: Anaemia in pregnancy is associated with poor maternal and foetal outcomes. Nonetheless, there is a paucity of recent literature on the predictors of anaemia during pregnancy in the context of northern Uganda, a region emerging out of decades of war. A study was undertaken to determine the prevalence and factors associated with anaemia among pregnant women in northern Uganda.
Methods: In this cross-sectional study, 320 pregnant women seeking care at Lira Regional Referral Hospital were consecutively enrolled. Data were collected using a structured interviewer-administered questionnaire.
Data collected included: demographic, obstetric, nutritional and dietary characteristics of study participants. Data analysis consisted of descriptive statistics, cross-tabulations and logistic regression with 95% confidence and a p-value of < 0.05 as significant using STATA version 14.
Results: The mean age of the women was 25.3 ± 5.6 years while their mean gestational age was 25.4 ± 7.8 weeks. The overall prevalence of anaemia (Hb < 11 g/dl in the first and third trimesters and less than 10.5 g/dl in the second trimester) was 24.7%. Iron deficiency was prevalent in half of the women (50%) with anaemia. Factors independently associated with anaemia included taking antimalarial prophylaxis (AOR 0.44; 95% CI 0.19, 0.99) and consumption of legumes and cereals more than twice in the previous week (AOR 0.46; 95% CI 0.24, 0.89).
Conclusion: One-quarter of pregnant women in this study population based in northern Uganda were anaemic. There is a need to strengthen interventions to control anaemia during pregnancy, particularly the intake of antimalarial prophylaxis and consumption of iron-rich locally available foods.

Keywords: anaemia, iron deficiency, pregnancy, Uganda

How to Cite
Udho, S., Nankumbi, J., Namutebi, M., Mukunya, D., Ndeezi, G., & Tumwinee, J. (2023). Prevalence of anaemia in pregnancy and associated factors in northern Uganda: a cross-sectional study. South African Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 36(4), 136–141. Retrieved from
Original Research