Springer Nature

Comparing hemoglobin distributions between population-based surveys matched by country and time

Posted on 2020-03-31 - 03:40
Abstract Background Valid measurement of hemoglobin is important for tracking and targeting interventions. This study compares hemoglobin distributions between surveys matched by country and time from The Demographic and Health Survey (DHS) Program and the Biomarkers Reflecting Inflammation and Nutritional Determinants of Anemia (BRINDA) project. Methods Four pairs of nationally representative surveys measuring hemoglobin using HemoCue® with capillary (DHS) or venous (BRINDA) blood were matched by country and time. Data included 17,719 children (6–59 months) and 21,594 non-pregnant women (15–49 y). Across paired surveys, we compared distributional statistics and anemia prevalence. Results Surveys from three of the four countries showed substantial differences in anemia estimates (9 to 31 percentage point differences) which were consistently lower in BRINDA compared to DHS (2 to 31 points for children, 1 to 16 points for women). Conclusion We identify substantial differences in anemia estimates from surveys of similar populations. Further work is needed to identify the cause of these differences to improve the robustness of anemia estimates for comparing populations and tracking improvements over time.


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