Joint modelling of malaria and anaemia in children less than five years of age in Malawi.
Malaria and anaemia jointly remain a public health problem in developing countries of which Malawi is one. Although there is an improvement along with intervention strategies in fighting against malaria and anaemia in Malawi, the two diseases remain significant problems, especially in children 6–59 months of age. The main objective of this study was to examine the association between malaria and anaemia. Moreover, the study investigated whether socio-economic, geographic, and demographic factors had a significant impact on malaria and anaemia.
Data and methodology
The present study used a secondary cross-sectional data set from the 2017 Malawi Malaria Indicator Survey (MMIS) with a total number of 2 724 children 6–9 months of age. The study utilized a multivariate joint model within the ambit of the generalized linear mixed model (GLMM) to analyse the data. The two response variables for this study were: the child has either malaria or anaemia.
The prevalence of malaria was 37.2% of the total number of children who were tested using an RDT, while 56.9% were anaemic. The results from the multivariate joint model under GLMM indicated a positive association between anaemia and malaria. Furthermore, the same results showed that mother’s education level, child’s age, the altitude of the place of residence, place of residence, toilet facility, access to electricity and children who slept under a mosquito bed net the night before the survey had a significant effect on malaria and anaemia.
The study indicated that there is a strong association between anaemia and malaria. This is interpreted to indicate that controlling for malaria can result in a reduction of anaemia. The socio-economic, geographical and demographic variables have a significant effect on improving malaria and anaemia. Thus, improving health care, toilet facilities, access to electricity, especially in rural areas, educating the mothers of children and increasing mosquito bed nets would contribute in the reduction of malaria and anaemia in Malawi.
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