Rahimy MC

Facultes des Sciences de la Sante, Cotonou, Benin


Nutritional anemia results from dietary lack of a nutritional component essential for hemoglobin production. In the infant over 30% of iron required for hemoglobin production come from diet, iron deficiency is the most common causal factor of nutritional anemia in children. Its clinical and biological features include: pallor, impaired physical growth, recurrent bacterial infections, hypochromic and microcytic erythrocytes with decreased levels of serum iron and serum ferritin. Its treatment consists of daily oral administration of an iron salt for at least 2 or 3 months to reconstitute body iron storage. Greatest need and restricted capacity to adapt to deficiency expose the growing child to severe repercussion of iron deficiency. Iron is involved in many crucial biologic functions, serving as metal co-factor for many enzymes. In Sub-Saharan Africa, it is thought that over 60% of children suffer from iron deficiency, but nutritional anemia usually involves many intricate causal factors (folate, vitamin B12, cooper, etc.) because of prevalent protein-caloric malnutrition. Therefore the hematological features may be modified and causes misdiagnosis and underestimation. In addition, the prevalence of hookworm infestation and other intestinal parasites in toddlers, recurrent Plasmodium falciparum malarial infestation, and the predominance of cereals in diet are worsening factors.  Early detection at pre-clinic stage, and prevention of iron deficiency and other causal factors of nutritional anemia is a topic of importance in Sub-Saharan Africa for caring children and for planning public health measures to improve the diet of the whole population. The suburban populations required a particular attention: most of them resulting from rural depopulation. The impoverishment precludes them from accessing foods of animal origin which facilitates iron assimilation and they have to modify their traditional nutritional habits.