Monday, 15 April

Positive Shift: 2022 GDHS Report indicates decline in childhood anemia rates in Ghana

Health News
Happy mother and baby

The recently released 2022 Ghana Demographic and Health Survey (GDHS) report, conducted by the Ghana Statistical Service (GSS), has brought forth encouraging news concerning the state of childhood anemia in the country. 

According to the data, a significant decline has been observed in anemia rates among children aged 6 to 59 months, marking a positive shift from previous years.

The GDHS report has it that 49% of children aged 6 to 59 months in Ghana are anemic, showcasing a notable improvement from the 66% recorded in 2014. 

The decline in anemia rates reflects ongoing efforts in maternal and child health interventions, contributing to enhanced overall well-being among the young population.

Breaking down the figures, the report indicates that within the 49% of anemic children, 28% are classified as mildly anemic, 20% as moderately anemic, and 1% as severely anemic. 

The detailed breakdown provides a nuanced understanding of the severity levels, allowing for targeted interventions to address specific categories of anemia.

The positive trend revealed by the GDHS report is a testament to the effectiveness of interventions and strategies implemented to combat childhood anemia. 

Stakeholders in the health sector, including government bodies, healthcare providers, and non-governmental organisations, have been actively working towards improving nutrition, access to healthcare, and overall maternal and child well-being.

The 2022 GDHS also has it that 41% of women are anemic, 23% being mildly anemic, 17% being moderate, and 1% severe.

However, anemia is more common in pregnant women – 51% – than women who are not pregnant, 40%.

Anemia in adults can cause fatigue, lethargy, reduced physical productivity and poor work performance. It is a major concern among pregnant women because it can lead to increased maternal mortality and poor birth outcomes.

Of the 4,522 children aged 6–59 months eligible for anaemia testing in the survey, 97% were tested while some 7,676 women – aged 15–49 – were also tested.

The report found that 53% of children aged 6 to 59 months are exclusively breastfed, suggesting the need for policy interventions aimed at improving breastfeeding.

“Exclusive breastfeeding among children aged 0−5 months rose from 2 per cent in 1988 to a peak of 63 per cent in 2008, then declined to 52 per cent in 2014 and increased slightly to 53 per cent in 2022,” it highlighted.

The report also raised concerns about some 32% of children, aged 6–23 months, being fed a sweet beverage, with 33% consuming unhealthy foods.

On maternal health, the report showed nearly all women aged 15 to 49 (98%) reported receiving antenatal care from a skilled provider for their most recent live birth or stillbirth in the two years preceding the survey.

Also, 88% of women had four or more antenatal visits for their most recent live birth or stillbirth, and 92% of women took iron-containing supplements during their most recent pregnancy.

On delivery, “86 percent of live births and/or stillbirths took place in a health facility and overall, 88 percent of live births and stillbirths were assisted by a skilled provider. This shows that the percentage of live births assisted by a skilled provider has increased over the past three decades, thus, from 41 percent in 1988 to 88 percent in 2022,” the report added.

Source: Okwang