ML Mazaba
Zambia National Public Health Institute ZNPHI

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In this issue we publish four different articles; Lived Experiences of Adolescent learners with sickle cell disease, Maternal mortality trends and correlates in Zambia (2018), Influenza Sentinel Surveillance Report (May) and Integrated Disease Surveillance Weekly Bulletin (Week 22). Our editorial focuses on putting some facts on anaemia as it is related to two of our articles. Anaemia is a major symptom of sickle cell disease and can also lead to maternal mortality. Let us talk a little about anaemia specifically causes, symptoms, prevention and treatment. Further to that The Health Press – Zambia wishes to join the global family in celebrating World Sickle Day on 19th June 2019.

Anaemia – causes, symptoms, prevention and treatment!
Anaemia is described as a deficiency in the number or quality of red blood cells in one’s body. The quality of cells is determined by the quantity of haemoglobin which is a protein found in red blood cells. The common symptoms of anaemia include fatigue, weakness, dizziness and drowsiness. Pregnant women, children, persons older than 65years are particularly vulnerable. There are over four hundred types of anaemia but here we list a few common amongst human beings below [1].
Iron deficiency anaemia which is the most common is caused by low levels of iron in the body that lead to low levels of haemoglobin. A common condition in pregnancy, it is also caused by blood loss that may be due to heavy menstrual bleeding, an ulcer, cancer and regular use of some drugs. It can be treated with use of iron supplements

Vitamin deficiency anaemia also referred to as pernicious anaemia is caused by lack of folate and vitamin B-12 which are key nutrients in red blood cell production. A diet rich in these and other key nutrients will improve red blood cell production.
Sickle cell anaemia an inherited haemolytic anaemia, is caused by a defective form of haemoglobin that forces red blood cells to assume an abnormal sickle shape. The sickle shaped cells die prematurely, resulting in a chronic shortage of red blood cells.
A rare and life-threatening aplastic anaemia is caused by infections, certain medicines, autoimmune diseases and exposure to toxic chemicals occurs when the body fails to produce enough red blood cells.
A variety of diseases, such as leukaemia and myelofibrosis, can cause anaemia by affecting blood production in your bone marrow. Some anaemias referred to as haemolytic anaemias occur when red blood cells are destroyed faster than bone marrow can replace them. Haemolytic anaemias may be inherited or develop later in life[2,3].
Although some are not preventable, anaemias can be managed by supplementation to good diet with oral or injectable Iron, Folate, Vitamin A depending on the type of anaemia. In severe circumstances, blood transfusions and erythropoiesis-stimulating agent (ESA) are used to control the anaemic conditions [4].

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World Health Organisation. Health topics – Anaemia. URL:
National Heart Lung and Blood Institue. Health topics. URL:
Janz TG, Johnson RL, Rubenstein SD. Anemia in the emergency department: evaluation and treatment. Emergency Medicine Pratice. 2013;15 (11): 1–15
Auerbach M, Ballard H. Clinical use of intravenous iron: administration, efficacy, and safety. Hematology. American Society of Hematology. Education Program. 2010: 338–47