Background: Homelessness is a problem in urban communities worldwide particularly when children fend for themselves on the street. Haematology is greatly influenced by proper nourishment and care in growing children.
Aims: The study’s aim was to assess the socio-demographic profile and some haematological parameters of children living on the street in Calabar, Nigeria.
Methods: A total of 180 male and female children aged between 6 and 16 years, were enrolled, comprising ninety children living on the street at Mary Slessor Avenue and Lemna Road, Calabar. With parental consent, ninety healthy, age and gender- matched children who live in homes were selected from Lourdes Academy, a private school in Calabar, as control. Socio-Demographic data was compiled by interview. Weight and height were measured and body mass index (BMI) calculated. The packed cell volume, haemoglobin, total white cell and platelet counts were determined by standard manual techniques. Serum iron and total iron binding capacity were determined by colorimetry, serum ferritin by enzyme linked immunosorbent assay while transferrin saturation was calculated. Data were analyzed using student t-test on statistical package for social sciences version 21. Significance was set at P≤0.05.
Results: Results showed that more males were found on the street (53.3%) with the majority (82.2%) having no formal education. All children living on the street depend fully on the street, 62.2% benefits from support groups with 60% engaged in odd jobs. The BMI of children on the street was significantly lower while total white cell count was significantly higher (P< 0.05) versus those at home. Other measured parameters were comparable (P>0.05).
Conclusions: The lower BMI of children living on the street implies slower growth compared to control while higher white cell count suggests a response to exposure to infectious agents and environmental hazards.
|Parameter||Children living on the street n=90||Children at home n=90|
|Mean Age (years)||11.91±2.19||12.91±2.61|
|Gender||Males n(%) Females n(%)||48 (53.3) 42 (46.7)||32 (35.6) 58 (64.4)|
|Education||Primary n(%) Junior Secondary n(%) None n(%)||10 (11.1) 6 (6.7) 74 (82.2)||60 (66.7) 30 (33.3) 0 (0.0)|
|Survival strategies (street children)||Street dependence n (%)||90 (100)||–|
|Support group n (%)||56 (62.2)||–|
|Odd jobs n (%)||54 (60)||–|
[Socio-Demographic data of children living on the street versus children living in homes]
|Parameter||Children on the street n=90||Children at home n=90||P-value|
|Body mass index||(Kg/m2)||18.21±3.33*||21.06 ±3.68||0.001|
|Packed cell volume||(L/L)||0.37 ±0.08||0.39 ±0.06||0.590|
|Haemoglobin||(g/L)||120..10 ± 20.5||124.70 ±18.8||0.270|
|Total white cell count||(x109/L)||7.87 ± 4.18*||5.90 ±1.94||0.005|
|Platelet count||(x109/L)||280.69 ±198.31||216.31 ±120.79||0.066|
|Total iron binding capacity||(µmol/L)||51.54±9.89||52.82±11.65||0.577|
[Body mass index and some haematological parameters of children living on the street versus control]
To cite this abstract in AMA style:Akpan P, Asuquo B. Socio-Demographic Data and some Haematological Parameters of Nigerian Children Living on the Street: A Comparative Study [abstract]. Res Pract Thromb Haemost. 2020; 4 (Suppl 1). https://abstracts.isth.org/abstract/socio-demographic-data-and-some-haematological-parameters-of-nigerian-children-living-on-the-street-a-comparative-study/. Accessed September 24, 2023.
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