Article abstract

Introduction: the definition of anemia has attracted considerable interest because several studies have demonstrated that hematologic profile vary with ethnicity in addition to age, sex and altitude. This has led scholars to recommend the use of population specific hematologic reference values in diagnosing blood disorders. However, there is limited information about Tanzanians population specific hemoglobin (Hb) levels which can be used to set cut-off points to define anemia. This study aimed to determine plasma Hb concentrations among healthy Tanzanian women.


Methods: this cross sectional study was done in Mwanza. Sociodemographic data were collected using questionnaires and plasma Hb concentrations were measured by calorimetric method. Data were analyzed using SPSS.


Results: a total of 215 (162 pregnant, 53 non-pregnant) women with a mean age of 28.2 6.54 years participated in the study. The mean plasma Hb concentrations were 12.0 1.43 mg/dl and 11.9 1.15 mg/dl for pregnant and non-pregnant women respectively. The Hb levels did not significantly vary between pregnant and non-pregnant women. Using WHO reference values, 45.3% non-pregnant and 26.5% pregnant women were found to be anemic while using the population specific reference, only 1.9% of pregnant and none of non-pregnant women would be classified as anemic.


Conclusion: most Tanzanian women who are diagnosed to have anemia during pregnancy, often had developed lower Hb before pregnancy and operational thresholds for diagnosis of anemia observed in this study are lower than WHO recommended references values. We recommend a large scale study to determine hematological profile of Tanzanian.