R Flora, M Zulkarnain, N A Fajar, A F Faisya, Nurlaily, Ikhsan, S Slamet


Children living in malaria-endemic regions are at risk of developing anemia particularly iron deficiency anemia (IDA). Iron is a very essential mineral needed by the body to help make hemoglobin, process cell division, stimulate brain cell growth, build muscle cells, and strengthen the immune system. Iron deficiency in primary school children has a significant impact on their immune system, cognitive skills, and learning achievement. The objective of this study was to analyze serum iron levels of primary school children in malaria-endemic regions in Seluma Regency, Bengkulu Province. The research design was a cross-sectional study. The research population was primary school children aged 9-11 years old in Seluma Regency Bengkulu Province collected from five subdistricts. The sample size was seventy-nine children collected by using a simple random sampling technique. The research data of this study were obtained from questionnaires (data for characteristics of parents and children), blood tests (data for hemoglobin, TIBC, saturated transferrin, and malaria), and fecal examinations (data for helminthiasis). The data were then analyzed in univariate and bivariate using SPSS. The hematology tests showed that the mean level of hemoglobin was 13.41 ± 2.21 g/dL, serum iron was 43.42 ± 19.88 μg/dL, TIBC was 301.65 ± 65.02 μg/dL, and saturated transferrin was 15.185 ± 8.15%. Based on these laboratory findings, 15.18% of the children were suffering from iron-deficiency anemia, 12.65% were anemia, 49.39% were iron deficiency, and 22.78% were in a normal range. The minimum level of serum iron was found in children with iron deficiency (34.19 ± 10.46 μg/dL). The results of statistical analysis using ANOVA indicated that there was a significant difference (p < 0.05) in the mean level of serum iron among children with iron deficiency anemia, iron deficiency, anemia, and normal range. The blood smears for malaria parasites showed that all children (100%) were not infected with helminthiasis. On the other hand, from the fecal examination, it was shown that twenty-six children (32.9%) were positive with helminthiasis. There was no significant correlation (p > 0.05) between hemoglobin level and helminthiasis. Almost half of the primary school children living in malaria-endemic regions of Seluma Regency, Bengkulu Province are suffering from iron deficiency. Infection of malaria parasites and helminthiasis do not contribute to iron deficiency in primary school children living in malaria-endemic regions of Seluma Regency, Bengkulu Province.

Keywords: iron serum, iron deficiency, iron deficiency anemia, primary school children, malaria-endemic areas

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