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Abstract
 
The objective of this study was to investigate iron status of school children aged 7-12 years in some rural communities in Nigeria as well as identify factors associated with anemia in the children. A total of 249 school children, 120 males and 129 females aged between 7-12 years were used in the study. Haemomoglobin (Hb), haematocrit (PCV) and serum ferritin were used to determine anaemia and iron status in 208 children. The subjects were also screened for malaria parasites and worm infection to determine their impact on anaemia. C-reactive protein (CRP) was used as an indicator of inflammation or infection. Socioeconomic, anthropometric and body composition information were collected from the children, while dietary iron intake was determined using a combination of 24 hour dietary recall, food frequency questionnaire and weighed inventory technique. The values obtained for energy and nutrient intakes were compared with RDA recommendations. Anaemia was defined as Hb < 11.0mg/dl and iron deficiency was defined as serum ferritin levels below 12ug/dl. Correlation coefficient was used to evaluate association between anaemia and nutritional as well as health factors. The results showed that the prevalence of anaemia was 82.6%, while iron deficiency was 77.8%. The average daily iron intake was 30% below the recommended allowance. There was a high prevalence of inflammatory disorders as indicated by CRP. Malaria parasite and worm infestations were high in the children (93.2% and 41.8%, respectively). Anaemia was significantly associated with helminth infestation, malaria parasite and CRP. The children had a mean weight and height below the recommended standards. Of all the children in the study (n=249), 77% were both stunted and underweight while 56% were wasted. The body composition values of normal children (body fat, triceps, subscapula skinfold thicknesses and abdominal circumference) were significantly higher than those of the malnourished children (p<0.05). The percentage of children having low BMI (<14.59) was 23.69%.The need for malaria and helminth control in these communities is recommended.

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Abstract
Background and Objectives: Vitamin A supplementation has been carried out in Nigeria for over the past twelve years. It is therefore necessary to assess the progress made in vitamin A supplementation and the challenges experienced. Methods: Reports from various monitors and supervisors were analysed from all over the country. The NDHS (1999, 2003, and 2008) were used as secondary sources of information. Results: Under-five mortality rate in Nigeria was 200/1000 live birth in 1999 (NDHS 1999) and this informed the need to include vitamin A supplementation as a plus in the national immunization days (NIDs). The NID programme was later change to national immunization plus days (NIPDs) thus regarding vitamin A as a plus in the program. NIPDs were essentially implemented as a WHO led program and this led to resistance by the WHO-supported health workers to accommodate input from UNICEF that brought in the VACs as a component of the NIPDs. There was mutual suspicion between WHO assisted health workers and nutrition professionals who saw themselves as the owner of VACs and were remunerated by UNICEF. There were also disparity in the remuneration between health workers supported by WHO and those supported by UNICEF. Some health workers could not administer VACs correctly due to poor training. In some cases political considerations informed the recruitment of adhoc staff who had no knowledge of the program and could not administer both the vaccines and VACS. Data management was poorly carried out and some WHO staff refused to record the data on vitamin A. Poor micro-plans and supply of enough quantities of VACs, scissors, wipes and tally sheets were also observed. Conclusion: Despite these challenges, vitamin A coverage for under-five children had risen from initial 27% in 1999 to 75% in 2011. This has also positively affected the under-five mortality by reducing it to 157/1000 live birth (NDHS, 2008).

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