Prevalence of anemia and its associated factors among married women in 19 sub-Saharan African countries

Betregiorgis ZEGEYE, Felix Emeka ANYIAM, Bright Opoku AHINKORAH, Edward Kwabena AMEYAW, Eugene BUDU, Abdul Aziz SEIDU, Sanni YAYA*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Journal PublicationsJournal Article (refereed)peer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)



Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) remains the region with the highest burden of anemia globally. Since anemia has both health and non-health-related consequences, its reduction is one of the Sustainable Development Goals. Therefore, this study aimed to examine the prevalence of anemia and its associated factors among married women in SSA.


Using Stata version-14 software, the analysis was done on 89,029 married women from the Demographic and Health Surveys of 19 countries in SSA. Pearson Chi-Square test and Binary logistic regression analyses were used to examine the factors associated with anemia. The results were presented using adjusted Odds Ratio (aOR) at a 95% Confidence Interval (CI). A p-value less than or equal to 0.05 (p ≤ 0.05) was considered statistically significant.


The pooled analysis showed that 49.7% of married women were anemic. Of these, 1.04% and 15.05% were severely and moderately anemic respectively, and the rest 33.61% were mildly anemic. Husband education (primary school-aOR = 0.84, 95% CI; 0.71–0.99), wealth index (middle-aOR = 0.81, 95% CI; 0.68–0.96, richer-aOR = 0.69, 95% CI; 0.57–0.84, richest-aOR = 0.68, 95% CI; 0.51–0.91), modern contraceptive use (yes-aOR = 0.68, 95% CI; 0.56–0.81) and religion (Muslim-aOR = 1.27, 95% CI; 1.11–1.46, others-aOR = 0.73, 95% CI; 0.59–0.90) were factors associated with anemia among married women.


The findings show that nearly half of the married women are affected by anemia. Enhancing partners’ educational levels, and economic empowerment of women, strengthening family planning services, and working with religious leaders to reduce the perception and religious beliefs related to food restrictions can be the main focus to reduce the burden of anemia among married women in SSA.

Original languageEnglish
Article number214
Number of pages12
JournalArchives of Public Health
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 29 Nov 2021
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

We acknowledge the Demographic and Health Surveys Program for making the DHS data available, and we thank the women who participated in the surveys.


  • Anemia
  • DHS
  • Factors
  • Global health
  • Married women
  • Sub-Saharan Africa


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